As buildings across New York City rise, construction workers must travel higher and higher to complete these towering structures. Unfortunately, every additional foot into the sky carries the risk of workers suffering an extreme fall, leading to career-ending injury or even death. For this reason, the state has imposed specific safety regulations to prevent trips, slips, and falls on stairways during building construction.

Section 23 Regulations for Stairways on Construction Sites

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 have a duty to Temporary Staircase on a Construction Sitecomply 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. Part 23-2.7 dictates how employers should protect employees traveling between levels on staircases.

Part 23 provisions for temporary and permanent stairways include:

  • Requirements for concrete structures. When construction is taking place on any reinforced concrete building or other structure, at least one stairway shall be installed below the uppermost working floor or level. This staircase must extend to a level not more than 60 feet or four floors, whichever is less, and must be extended upward as the construction progresses in compliance with Part 23.
  • Requirements for non-concrete structures. During the construction of other types of buildings and structures, at least one stairway must be installed below the uppermost working floor or level. This stairway must extend to a level not more than 30 feet or two floors, whichever is less, and must be extended upward as the construction progresses in compliance with Part 23.
  • Stairway construction. Temporary stairways must have treads constructed of wooden planks not less than 2 inches by 10 inches in size, or metal treads of equivalent strength not less than 2 inches in depth. All temporary stairways must be at least 3 feet in width and must be substantially constructed and rigidly braced. Any stairways more than 5 feet in width must be provided with intermediate or center stringers.
  • Treads and landings. Stairways with steel treads or landings which are to be later filled in with concrete (or provided with other permanent tread surfacing) must be provided with temporary wooden treads. Temporary wooden treads must be carefully fitted in place, extending to the edges of the metal nosing and over the full width of the treads and landings.
  • Skeleton iron or steel stairs. Any skeleton iron or steel stairs must have treads of wood planking not less than 2 inches by 10 inches in size.
  • Vertical rise. Temporary stairways must not have a vertical rise of more than 12 feet between landings or floors.
  • Protective railings. All stairwells of temporary wooden stairways, and of permanent stairways where enclosures or guard rails have not been erected, must be provided with a properly constructed and installed safety railing on every open side in compliance with Part 23. In addition, all stairways and landings must be provided with handrails of at least 30 inches but not more than 40 inches in height, measured vertically from the nose of the tread to the top of the rail.

Let Us Advise You After a Construction Site Injury

If you or someone you love was injured on a New York construction site, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer, site owner, or a third party. You and your family could have the right to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income, disability costs, and pain and suffering.

The construction injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer have helped numerous construction workers get the payment they deserve after an accident on the job. Contact us today to have us advise you on your next steps, or learn more about your rights in 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.