The Scaffold Law

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Q: One day, at a fire-damaged warehouse, I was removing steel window frames.  I stood on a ladder, propped against the right-most window frame, sawing loose the frame.  Then I paused, looked over and saw a large piece of glass falling toward me.

Meanwhile, my brother is an electrician.  He was installing fluorescent light fixtures into a dropped ceiling grid.  He climbed half-way up the ladder in order to reach the ten-foot ceiling.  He lifted the light fixture into the ceiling grid.  His next step would have been to secure it, but the light fixture began to fall.  My brother immediately reached out to stop the fixture from hitting him, but it slid as he tried to hold it.

Neither of us fell, but both of us were cut.

A: Section 240 of the New York Labor Law is called the Scaffold Law.  Apparently, you were not injured by an object being hoisted or secured.  Thus, you cannot recover under the Scaffold Law.  Your brother’s injuries also do not come within its scope.

However, section 200 of the Labor Law provides that a work site shall be safely constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted and that its machinery, equipment and devices shall be safely placed, operated, guarded and lighted.  The theory is one of common-law negligence.

Your case seems to involve no question of your own comparative negligence.  Your brother’s case appears somewhat more complicated.  When the light fixture began to fall, it is possible that he was not performing at his best.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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