In August, a construction worker at Three World Trade Center fell 15 feet to the ground while installing a steel beam, sustaining head injuries and breaking both his arms. In September, a bricklayer working on the façade of an Upper East Side building fell from a height of 30 feet and was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
New York Labor Law Section 240 is the last remaining scaffolding law in the United States — however, it may be applied to any situation where a construction worker falls from any height while doing his work, including cleaning and removing debris. The law itself serves two important purposes:
It places responsibility on owners, contractors and their agents who are involved in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure to create a safe working environment for their workers by providing appropriate safety measures such as scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes and other devices.
It recognizes the catastrophic nature of injuries that are sustained by those who work at enormous heights by allowing victims to claim damages above and beyond what is provided by their Workers Compensation Program.
Under Section 240, the owner of the property and the general contractor are strictly liable for the worker’s injuries even if the worker’s actions contributed to the cause of the accident. The law exempts owners of one- and two- family homes where the homeowner does not supervise or direct the work.
A safe construction site, with strong scaffolds and properly secured tools and workers, protects not only construction workers – it also protects pedestrians and visitors to the site. If you or a loved one is a construction worker who was injured or killed in a construction accident, you should speak to an attorney to determine whether or not your employer was in compliance with the Scaffolding Law.
Posted in Personal Injury
Tagged construction accidents, New York Labor Law, New York personal injury attorneys, scaffolding law