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44 N. Y. L. Rev. 45 (2000-2001)
New York's Labor Law Section 240: Has It Been Narrowed or Expanded by the Courts beyond the Legislative Intent

handle is hein.journals/nyls44 and id is 53 raw text is: NEW YORK'S LABOR LAW SECTION 240: HAS IT BEEN
On Tuesday, July 21, 1998, a twenty five story elevator support
tower collapsed during construction of the new Conde Nast building on
West 43rd Street in Manhattan, showering Times Square with tons of
deadly debris from the 700-foot-high scaffolding and killing an eighty-
five-year-old woman in a nearby hotel room.2 Three hundred feet of scaf-
folding materials were hurled to the street and buildings below.3 New
York City Buildings Commissioner Gaston Silva described the collapse
as the most serious and dramatic construction failure of this decade.'
The disaster closed the Times Square area for days, and riveted public
attention as never before on the risks and dangers inherent in the use of
scaffolding in industrial construction.5 Although no workers were in-
jured, it is not unlikely that the Times Square tragedy will lead to height-
ened awareness and scrutiny of the laws governing the safety of workers
on scaffolds at construction job sites.
Few areas in the field of tort litigation are as significant yet misun-
derstood as the so-called Scaffold Act,6 embodied in Article 10 of the
1. Barry R. Temkin is a senior trial attorney at Jacobowitz Garfinkel & Lesman in
Manhattan, a former Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, and a 1982 graduate of
the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Mr. Temkin received a B.A. (magna cum
laude) in 1979 from the University of Rochester. The author wishes to acknowledge the
assistance of Robert Travisano in researching the legislative history of the Labor Law,
and of Janice Tuchman for her assistance in researching the Times Square disaster.
2. See Steven Greenhouse, Scaffold Collapses, Paralyzing Times Square, N.Y.
TR.vEs, July 22, 1998, at Al.
3. See Nadine M. Post, Causes Probed as Crippled Hoist Comes Slowly Down,
ENGINEERING NEwS RECoRD, August 10, 1998, at 10.
4. See David W. Chen, Mayor Faults Offer of Aid for Victims of Collapse, N.Y.
TIMEs, July 24, 1998, at B5.
5. See Making Times Square Safe, N.Y. TIMES, July 25, 1998, at A12; Times
Squares Troubles Probed, ENGINEERING NEWS RECORD, August 24, 1998, at 12.
6. N.Y. LAB. LAW § 240 (1999 Pocket Part, Historical and Statutory Notes).

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