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New York’s strict scaffolding laws

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2023 | blog, Construction Accidents

Jurisdictions across the United States have protections for construction workers. All you need to do is look at OSHA, which is a federal-level workplace regulatory body.

What you might not know is that New York has some very specific laws about aspects of construction projects. One of the most prominent of these is the New York scaffolding law.

Labor Law Section 240: four times rule

Section 240 of the New York labor law has some very exacting rules about scaffolds. One of the most important comes at the end of this section: that a scaffold has to be built to bear four times its maximum operating load.

You might think that that would be enough to eliminate scaffolding injuries across the city and state. However, these unfortunate accidents still occur — and still result in catastrophic injuries for workers. When those injuries happen because someone used non-compliant equipment, that negligent party had better be ready to pay the price required under the law.

Other aspects of Section 240

Apart from the rule about the strength of scaffolding, this law also has some other important aspects. Here are some examples:

  • You must have specific types of guard rails on most scaffolds
  • There are exceptions from responsibility for certain people, but it does not let them off the hook under other laws
  • Scaffolding is usually the responsibility of the contractor, owner or agent, except for smaller properties

As you can see, these issues tend to get complicated. That is one reason is typically important to understand the exact details of your case before you start any formal legal processes or agree to take any type of compensation for your injuries.


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