Construction has become known as one of the most dangerous industries nationwide. While construction workers are aware of certain risks attached to their jobs and the precautions that are required to maintain safety, their well-being must not be compromised by workplace negligence.
Every year thousands of construction workers are injured on the job in accidents that could have been prevented. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction is the leading fatal occupational injury industry in New York State. In an effort to protect construction workers and hold negligent business owners and companies liable for preventable accidents, New York State has issued a series of labor laws that dictate legal obligations for the safe operation of worksites.
How NY Labor Laws Protect Workers
When seriously injured on the job, worker’s compensation and insurance payouts often fall short of the extent of medical needs, therapies, and loss of income, among other concerns. In certain situations, labor laws in New York enable construction workers to sue their employers, providing an opportunity for complete compensation for all damages.
When entering a worksite, construction workers have specific rights to expect their working environment, equipment, and supplies to be functioning properly and be free of known dangers. There are three key laws that help protect the livelihood of construction workers:
Labor Law 200
Section 200 of New York labor law describes an employer’s general duty or responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees and the methods to enforce protocols. The law states the requirement that all job sites are to be “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.” Read the full law here.
Labor Law 240
Section 240 of New York labor law refers specifically to construction scaffolding and is often called the “Scaffold Law.” This law requires that any scaffolding or staging more than 20 feet off the ground be bolted in place, and also have a safety rail that meets exact specifications. All scaffolding must be built to hold four times the maximum weight it will hold while in use. Read the full law here.
Labor Law 241
Section 241 of New York labor law specifies required methodologies for construction, demolition, and excavation on worksites to protect workers from dangerous materials, situations, and equipment. For example, the law outlines how workers should plank openings to stairwells and elevator shafts to protect workers from potential cave-ins and fall, details the exact procedures for removal of hazardous materials, as well as instructs workers on how the floorplan and flow of the operation should be arranged and guarded to protect workers. Read the full law here.
These laws exist to ensure that New York construction workers have a safe, predictable work environment that minimizes the inherent dangers of the industry. When companies do not uphold state safety expectations and cause injury or death on the worksite, they can be held liable for their negligence.
If you have been injured on a New York construction site, be sure to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and connect with a New York construction accident attorney as soon as possible. The award-winning team of attorneys at Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore can examine which laws apply to your case and help you receive the maximum compensation you are owed for your losses. Contact us online or call us at (212) 618-6800 to schedule a free consultation.