How To Protect Yourself From The Scaffolding Law NYLL 240(1)

As a contractor, you are affected significantly by the different New York State Labor Laws (NYLL) and all of their provisions. One thing we have learned after years of helping contractors to mitigate risk is that every portion of the NYLL has details that can affect the way a contractor does business.

NYLL 240(1) is known as the “scaffolding law,” and it is a comprehensive set of rules that dictate how the law looks at falls on construction sites. It is important that every contractor understands the basic of NYLL 240(1), and be prepared to discussing preventing falls based on criteria set forth in NYLL 240(1) when talking to their risk mitigation partner.

The Contractor Is Always At Fault

According to NYLL 240(1), the contractor and/or property owner are at fault when an injury due to a fall occurs on a construction site. This responsibility is absolute, and it cannot be transferred to another party. If the general contractor brings in a safety consultant to run a job and there is an injury, the fault lies with the contractor.

In some cases,. NYLL 240(1) might divide responsibility between the property owner and the contractor. For example, if there is a dangerous situation that was not evident when the general contractor took the job and it is determined that the dangerous situation caused the fall, then the property owner would most likely be held partially responsible.

Don’t Let The Name Fool You

Many contractors assume that the “scaffolding law” refers only to workers who fall from very high platforms or ladders. The truth is that NYLL 240(1) is designed to protect workers who fall from any height. If a general contractor allows a worker to stand on a turned-over paint bucket to reach a limited height and that worker falls, the contractor is liable for those injuries.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

In our many years of handling construction risk, we have found that the contractors that take worker safety seriously significantly reduce their chances of having to deal with lawsuits under NYLL 240(1). But there are actions every contractor can take to keep their workers safe, and avoid costly lawsuits attributed to NYLL 240(1).

  • Have an OSHA certified safety inspector on every job (regardless of the job size) who is familiar with NYLL 240(1) to make sure all safety rules are being followed. For larger jobs, it helps to have more than one inspector on-site.
  • Have all of your ladders, scaffolding, and safety equipment inspected regularly to make sure that it is always in working order.
  • Document every incident, safety inspection, and equipment inspection in a way that can show that you are taking worker safety seriously.
  • Hold regular meetings with our business experts to make sure that all of the necessary measures are being taken to follow the rules outlined in NYLL 240(1).

When you hire a qualified risk mitigation company like ours, then you do not need to be an expert in the New York labor laws, because we will act as your risk protection experts. If you do not have a risk expert on your side, then you are still responsible to understand and abide by NYLL 240(1). That is why the smart contractors are the ones who allow our business experts to analyze their business processes, and make suggestions that will keep their workers safe.