New York labor law bookThere are many laws that protect construction workers in New York, but Labor Law 241 is one of the most beneficial. Not only does the law outline the regulations and specific safety actions that must be followed on a worksite—it also gives workers the right to sue for injuries and pain and suffering caused by industrial code violations.

Provisions and Exceptions of NY Labor Law 241

Labor Law 241 serves as a comprehensive safety law for construction workers, and requires that site owners, contractors, and managers follow provisions to protect employees. These laws apply to all site owners, except for owners of one- or two-family homes who do not control the work of employees.

This state statute includes safety regulations regarding:

  • Floor construction. Just as Labor Law 240 protects workers from falls from elevated platforms, the first provision of Labor Law 241 helps prevent falls between building levels. If each level of flooring is not completed as the building progresses, the floor two stories immediately below where work is being performed must be kept planked over.
  • Elevators. The shafts and landings of elevators used to transport building materials during the course of construction must have barriers on all sides. Sides used to load or unload materials may be protected by an adjustable barrier.
  • Compliance. All construction, excavation, or demolition areas must be shored, arranged, equipped, guarded, and operated in a way that provides reasonable protection to workers. Owners and contractors assume this responsibility, as well as the responsibility for complying with any safety rules created by the commissioner.
  • Liability. Architects, landscape architects, and professional engineers are not liable for violations of the provisions of this law if they do not direct or control any work other than planning and design. However, this exception may not apply to these parties if they are found liable under common law or any other provision of law.
  • Asbestos exposure during demolition. Owners are prohibited from advertising for, contracting, or commencing demolition work on a structure built before January 1, 1974, without first conducting an asbestos survey. The survey must be conducted in a way that conforms with regulations set forth by the commissioner to determine whether or not the building contains asbestos or asbestos materials. The results of the survey must be sent immediately to the commissioner, as well as to the governmental entity responsible for with issuing a demolition permit. If the survey positively identifies a presence of asbestos or asbestos materials in the building to be demolished, the owner is required to complete asbestos remediation performed by a licensed asbestos contractor. No owner may advertise bids for demolition, award a contract for demolition, nor allow demolition work to begin before asbestos remediation is complete.
  • Hatch openings. Employees who are performing work in or near elevator shafts, stairwells, or hatchways must be protected during the course of construction or demolition. This protection includes the installation of sound planking, at least two inches thick, laid across the opening at least two stories above and one story below any employees to prevent falls and struck-by accidents.
  • Glass doors. Many employees are injured due to collisions with—or even falling through—transparent glass doors. This law requires all transparent glass doors in public, commercial, and mercantile buildings to be marked in a way that will adequately warn workers and visitors to the site of the presence of the doors.

Victims only have a short period of time to file a lawsuit against a negligent employer or third party, so it is vital that you learn your legal options as quickly as possible after an injury on a construction site. If you were injured due to a violation of this statute, our construction injury attorneys can examine the facts of your case and work to get you proper compensation. Fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with an injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today.


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