New York State has a number of laws which have provided protection to workers on the job from being injured. Many of these injuries involve elevation-related risk. This means that a worker may fall from an elevated height or something may fall from above upon a worker. These laws are commonly referred to as “scaffold laws” or simply New York Labor Laws.

New York Labor Law Sections 200, 240 and 241(6) apply to a number of different types of building activity including construction & demolition, alteration of a building involving significant physical change, cleaning and repairing.

Under §240 of that law, workers are required to have safety devices such that would prevent and injury. The law requires that: All contractors and owners shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, cleaning or painting of a building or structure, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.

Included in safety devices are scaffolding and ladders. Scaffolding can be made of wood or metal and are generally required to have safety railings. Scaffolding must have proper footings and tie-ins and are made and constructed in different applications including pole scaffolds, outrigger scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, carpenters portable scaffolds, trestle and extension ladder scaffolds, ladder jack scaffolds and manually propelled mobile scaffolds. Scaffolds must have proper planking, adequate bracing and sufficient overhead protection to prevent injury from falling objects.

Under §200 of the Labor Law, workers must have a safe place to work. The law provides that workplaces are required to be so constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted so as the provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed.

Further, under §241[6] of the New York Labor Law, all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed.

The use of ladders as safety devices is also an important aspect of construction safety. Ladders are required to have sufficient strength and have to be maintained in safe condition. Also ladder footings have to be firm and placed such that they do not slip out from beneath construction workers. They may also have to be braced. Ladders that are not correctly placed, constructed and maintained can be very hazardous to on site workers.

Work sites are also governed by OSHA [Occupational Safety & Health Administration] and sometimes by municipal regulations.

If you are injured on a worksite, you should consult with your attorney to see if your claim would qualify under New York Labor Laws. If you are injured and cannot return to work, your claim will involve the loss of wages, the loss of any benefits you may have, the loss of future income, the current, past and future costs of medical care and your claim for pain and suffering from the injuries sustained. If the injury results in death of a loved one, you should see your attorney as soon as possible as there are time limits under which claims must be brought. These time limits are known commonly as statutes of limitation. A failure to commence a legal action within the time permitted by law will bar your action in Court.

So, the best rule is see your attorney early and get all of the information you need.