Have you or someone close to you been seriously injured in a construction site accident in New York? If so, you may have recourse through the New York State Labor Laws. The purpose of New York’s Labor laws is to place the responsibility for construction worker safety upon either the owners or the general contractors overseeing a construction jobsite. If you have been injured on a construction site in an accident that could have been prevented by adhering to appropriate safety measures, you may be able to recover damages. If you need advice and assistance in determining whether a remedy is available to you, contact the Queens construction accident lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm. We have helped numerous clients in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx to recover damages for their personal injuries.Construction Work is Risky Enough Even Without Safety Violations
Every year, New York construction workers are injured or even killed while on the job. Records from the New York City Building Department show that in 2013, there were 186 jobsite accidents, causing 3 fatalities and 195 injuries.
Of course, construction workers do not need anyone to tell them that construction can be a dangerous occupation. It is physically demanding manual labor, particularly when it comes to working on large and tall buildings. Workers must climb up and down ladders and scaffolding; traverse narrow elevated catwalks; suffer gusty winds, driving rain, and scorching sun and heat; operate dangerous power equipment and machines; lift heavy objects; trod through and around dust, gravel, and construction debris; demolish crumbling structures; and so on. Even without accidents, physical injuries are not uncommon just from the nature of the work.
But there are also risks of injury from something going wrong—a crane collapsing, or a wall caving in. Because of these risks, construction sites must adhere to certain safety standards, which may include everything from harnesses, site lighting, and safety nets to equipment specifications, braces, and jobsite cleaning requirements.
The most common cause of construction site injuries is from falling. However, injuries can also come about due to:
- Accidents involving power tools such as saws, nail guns, and compressors;
- Electrical accidents;
- Structural failures;
- Falling objects;
- Heavy equipment accidents, such as forklifts or backhoes;
- Falling into trenches, holes, and ditches;
- Burns from welding tools;
- Collapsing cranes; and
- Other accidents.
There are three main New York State Labor Laws that apply to construction site accidents—specifically, to any jobs that involve construction (including renovations), excavation, or demolition. These are Sections 200, 240, and 241:
- Section 200 is basically a codification of basic negligence law applied to construction. It holds that that an owner, general contractor, or other employer (such as a subcontractor) who is overseeing any work on a site must use “reasonable care” to provide workers with a “safe place” to work, free of unreasonable risks of harm.
- Section 240 is often referred to as the “Scaffolding Law” since it deals with situations in which there are risks of falls, or risks of things falling onto workers from above. Within this context, it provides the owners or general contractors will be held strictly liable if they fail to meet the safety measures required by the New York State Industrial Code.
- Section 241 requires that owners and general contractors provide “reasonable and adequate protection and safety” to workers and others who are lawfully on a site for virtually all other types of construction job hazards. It also provides that defendants are strictly liable for injuries that result from failing to meet specific safety standards.
Importantly, these laws apply specifically to injuries caused by accidents, not injuries (such as a twisted knee or strained back) that come about simply from incidents of the job, which are instead covered by workers’ compensation.The Cassisi Law Firm Can Help You Recover from Your Construction Accident
Like nearly all statutes, New York’s Labor Laws are riddled with details. Whether and which laws may apply in any given case will depend upon a number of factors. If you have been injured in a construction accident, discuss your situation with an attorney who has experience handling these cases: contact the Queens worksite accident attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm. Call us at (718) 441-5050, or use the online form to set up your free consultation.