Labor Laws protect construction workers injured on the job. New York’s Labor Laws impose a heavy duty on employers to provide a “safe place to work.” There is special protection for Construction Workers injured while doing work such as renovation, demolition, alteration or repair of buildings and other structures. The justification for these laws is that construction work is an extremely dangerous profession, and employers should be discouraged from “cutting corners” on safety with these strict laws. Injured construction workers have protection under these laws that allow them to sue their employers in addition to collecting Workers Compensation benefits.
This is the “safe place to work” law, and it very broad. In order to bring a claim, it must be shown that the Employer was “negligent.” This gives rise to all the various types of negligence, including failure to properly train or hire. It also must be shown that the worker it was not the fault of the worker that caused the accident. The law states that “All places… shall be so constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places. All machinery, equipment and devices in such places shall be so placed, operated, guarded and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.” This law applies only to construction sites, and imposes conditions that create a “reasonably safe environment,” for all employees and visitors. Safe machines, adequate lighting and other reasonable actions to ensure that visitors and employees are as safe as they can possibly be. Construction workers injured on the job, can benefit from this broad statute that allows them to sue for negligence.
This is what’s known as the Scaffold Law, protects workers that are injured “at an elevation” or that are struck by an object that falls from a height. General contractors, project owners and managers, and building owners are held strictly liable when workers are hurt in this way. A positive safery record is not a defense to the Scaffold Law, a single incident can give rise to legal action when a worker or visitor is injured. Injured construction workers can more easily bring claims under this law as it is only necessary to prove that they were injured at an elevation due to a malfunction or failure to use proper equipment.
This law specifies what must be done on a work site to protect worker safety, including the equipment that must be used. If an owner neglects to provide this equipment, they can be held liable for failing to do so. It specifically references excavation, demolition and safety equipment. It covers work on elevates platforms (in conjunction with Section 240,) but also covers other types of work. The law specifies how a site must be set-up, equipped, guarded and arranged, as well as other aspects of construction site safety. Employers that violate this law, can be held liable for the injuries sustained by workers and visitors to the site.
When a construction worker or visitor is injured, claims are often made under these three statutes. There are also other claims that can be made for injured construction workers such as claims against third parties and product liability claims. These are complicated cases and you need an expert construction accident lawyer to successfully bring these lawsuits.