What is New York's Scaffold Law?

If you work in construction, you know that taking safety measures is extremely important – particularly if you work at elevated heights. Recognizing that many workers have to do their jobs on ladders, scaffolds, and using hoists, New York has a law that specifies these workers must be provided with appropriate safety devices to protect them from falling or being injured by falling objects. Commonly known as the “Scaffold Law,” Labor Law 240 was designed to protect workers from gravity-related accidents.

Labor Law § 240

Under this law, an injured worker doesn’t have to prove negligence for a height-related injury if an owner, contractor, or other responsible party doesn’t provide necessary or adequate safety equipment in good condition. They can be held strictly liable based on the violation of the statute alone.

Labor Law 240 requires that safety devices such as “scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices” must be provided to workers. This law applies to many different types of height-related work tasks such as “erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, and cleaning.”

Construction workers are not the only workers who are protected by this law. It applies to painters, electricians, cleaners, and anyone else who has to do their job at a height on any type of building or structure. Many types of accidents are covered by the scaffold law and may include:


  • • Ladder falls and accidents
  • Crane accidents
  • Falls from scaffolds
  • Being struck by a falling object or debris
  • Roof falls
  • Falls through floors Falling from a height, or being hit by a falling object can result in substantial and grave injuries such as fractures, traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, paralysis, loss of limbs, and even death.

Pursuing a Third-Party Action for Injuries
If you were injured while working, Workers’ Compensation will cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain amount. Under New York’s labor law, you aren’t limited to pursuing recovery solely under the Workers’ Compensation system. If a safety violation occurred, you also have the right to pursue a third-party personal injury action for negligence.

Although you generally can’t sue your employer for workplace injuries in New York State according to Workers’ Compensation laws, the labor law allows you to pursue a claim against the owner or contractor of the structure you were working on for damages. You may be entitled to recover unreimbursed medical expenses, pain and suffering, future lost wages, loss of consortium, and in some cases, punitive damages. In the event that a worker died from injuries as a result of a height-related accident, the estate of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you are a worker who was injured due to a violation of New York Labor Law 240, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately who can protect your legal rights and advise you of your legal remedies. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, and time lost from work.

The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience in obtaining compensation for victims of construction site accidents. Located in Flushing, Queens, The Popick Law Firm handles personal injury cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.