Legal Memorandum: Scaffold Law in NY

Issue: Does New York Labor Law 240 (1) apply to all workplace falls?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Workplace falls; Work at a height
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 222 A.D.2d 775; 634 N.Y.S.2d 272
Cited Statutes: New York Labor Law 240 (1)
Date: 05/01/2000

If a plaintiff’s work does not itself involve work at a height, there is no violation of Labor law 240(1).  In Straight v. McCarthy Bros. Constr., 222 A.D.2d 775, 634 N.Y.S.2d 272 (3rd Dep’t 1995), the Third Department, Appellate Division held that a plumber who fell from an elevated plank, used for access into a building, to the ground was not protected under Labor Law 240(1) because his work, repairing a boiler in the basement of the house, did not involve work at a height, and as such, it was not necessary for the general contractor or owner to provide him with devices to protect him from work at a height.  The reasoning being that he did not work at an elevation when he worked on the boiler.


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