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How New York Labor Law protects window washers 14 stories up

You could be washing windows halfway up a skyscraper or repairing fascia on a two-story building. Whatever the project, you have to trust that your scaffolding will work as it should.

Heights pose danger, and if you are more than 20 feet off the ground, Section 240 of the New York Labor Law comes into play.

Section 240 basics

Labor Law Section 240, also known as the New York Scaffold Law, provides protection for people who perform their work at high elevations. Under this section of the law, contractors and property owners are responsible for providing proper safeguards for workers, including safe scaffolding. Safety lines, harnesses, hoists and guardrails are among the scaffolding equipment items you might expect.

About safety rails

According to the description in Section 240, any scaffolding that is in use more than 20 feet from the ground must provide safety rail protection to a worker. The safety rail should rise a minimum of 34 inches above the main part of the scaffolding and encompass the entire length and ends with only an opening to accommodate the delivery of materials. The safety rail should be bolted, braced or otherwise attached and properly fastened so that the scaffolding will not sway from the structure.

Affecting your family

Construction, renovation, window washing, cleaning and any other kind of work that takes you up the side of a building is dangerous. You may be the sole or at least primary breadwinner in your family. If you should sustain a serious injury in a fall from scaffolding, how will it affect your spouse and children? If unsafe conditions caused your injury, such as a support failure on the scaffolding you were using, explore your legal options promptly. Special laws in New York, including Section 240 of the labor law, offer protection to workers like you and make you eligible for financial compensation that would provide relief for you and your family.

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