New York City’s legendary skyline boasts some of the most impressive buildings globally but sometimes casts dark shadows on the safety of the workers who built them. According to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), New York City has the highest proportion of construction-related worker fatalities in the United States.
The New York Scaffold Law
This is due to companies not following The New York Scaffold Law (Labor Law 240). This lengthy law requires all construction sites to be built and managed in a way that protects workers. New York Labor Law 240 also gives construction workers and their families the right to sue an employer, manufacturer, or the building site owner if they are killed or injured due to a scaffold construction accident.
Since falls, specifically from scaffolds, account for 25% of construction-related deaths in New York and remain five times as high as all industry death rates, we are constantly investigating how they happened to serve our clients better.
Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents
- Inadequate scaffolding maintenance: Scaffolding should consistently be maintained, repaired, and replaced to prevent harm to workers.
- Defects in the scaffolding: For example, if the scaffold lacks necessary bracing or the attachment points do not line up, it could result in caving and the worker falling.
- Hazardous weather: New York State is known for extreme weather—bone-chilling cold, harsh rains, gushing winds, dumping snow, and heatwaves. Snow and rain often result in slippery planking. Major temperature changes could lead to cracks, loosening, and failures within the scaffolding.
- Untrained coworkers: The phrase “You are only as strong as your weakest link” is a very true statement when working in construction, especially on scaffolding. A mistake of an untrained, inexperienced, or negligent coworker can lead to devastating consequences for everyone involved.
- Missing guard rails and toe boards: Not having these key safety features can easily lead to a worker misstepping and falling.
- Unsafe access: If a safe option, such as a ladder, isn’t provided, sometimes a worker might resort to climbing up the actual scaffolding.
- Electrocution: This can happen if a worker is unaware of exposed electrical wires and energized power lines or if the scaffold strikes an overhead power line.
New York Scaffolding Attorneys Advocating For You
At Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore (KDLM), we are fierce advocates for those injured or killed in a scaffolding accident. Our firm has won over 150 verdicts of over $1,000,000 for clients and has negotiated settlements over $1,000,000,000.
We secured $25,000,000 for a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury when a structure on which he was standing collapsed during a demolition and construction project. Under the New York Scaffolding Law, the property owner was held liable.