Elevator Shaft at an Unfinished Construction BuildElevators can ease the burden of hauling concrete and materials to upper levels before the construction of the building is complete. Still, there are strict guidelines on when construction workers may use a building’s permanent elevators. Our New York construction injury lawyers explain state regulations to protect workers in these situations and how safety might entitle you to more than workers’ compensation benefits.

NY Industrial Code Provisions for Permanent Elevators During Building Construction

NY Labor Law 241 requires owners and contractors to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. Under Section 241(6), owners and contractors must comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to carry out the provisions of the law.

The Department of Labor has created specific construction safety rules in Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code to protect people employed in construction, demolition, or excavation work. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 12 § 23-7.3 allows workers to use passenger or freight elevators being installed in buildings before completion of the building as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Hoistway enclosures. Any elevator used to carry persons, material, or both must have its permanent enclosure and permanent doors or by wire mesh of at least No. 18 U.S. gauge steel. Enclosures must have unperforated kick plates installed at every floor level above the lowest floor. Solid enclosures must consist of partitions of exterior grade plywood at least three-eighths inch thick or material of equivalent strength.
  • Hoistway doors. To protect construction workers in shafts from fall injuries, permanent or temporary hoistway doors must be in place before use. Every floor landing opening must have a solid door at least 78 inches high extending across the entire opening width with a vision panel of 80 square inches or less. Hoistway doors must be provided with a lock or latch openable from the hoistway side only and inaccessible from the landing side. Where vertical sliding hoistway doors are used, they must use counterweights and have safety measures to contain counterweights if the means of suspension should fail.
  • Elevator cars. If permanent elevator cars have not been installed, temporary elevator cars may be used in permanent hoistways as long as the frame of each such car has a safety plank and vertical stiles gusseted to a crosshead constructed of steel channels. Steel diagonal bracing must be provided to support the four corners of the car platform, and the frame must safely accommodate all loads intended to be carried. Flooring must be constructed of steel, aluminum plate, or wood of sufficient strength and securely fastened to the car platform. Elevator cars may only be operated by competent, trained, designated persons.
  • Car enclosures. Temporary elevator cars must be enclosed on the top and all sides except those used as entrance and exit openings. The top of each elevator car must have an emergency exit opening in the enclosure of not less than 400 square inches in area with the smallest dimension of at least 16 inches. Elevator controls must be arranged so that cars can only be operated or controlled from within the cars.
  • Car doors. Each elevator car must have a door or gate at least six feet high on the landing side and equivalent in strength to the car enclosure. All doors or gates must have an approved electric contact that prevents operation unless the door or gate is within two inches of complete closure. Car doors or gates may be counterweighted vertical sliding doors or horizontal (and horizontal gates may be arranged to swing inward when fully collapsed).
  • Testing. A designated person must test all temporary elevators installed in permanent hoistways before initial use. Tests must include loading the car to its rated capacity, operating at its rated speed to the upper and lower limits of travel at least twice, and tripping the governor by hand while the car travels downward with the rated load in place. These tests must be repeated with no load at least once per month while the elevator is in use to test brakes and activate car safeties. A written report of each test must be completed, signed by the designated person, and kept in a log book on the job site for the commissioner’s examination.

Learn Your Rights After a New York Construction Accident

If you or someone you love was seriously hurt on a construction site, contact the attorneys at Hofmann and Schweitzer can explain your options at no cost to you. Call us today at 800-362-9329 or read our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.


Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.
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