Construction Accidents, in most states, especially in New York, occur despite the specific laws in place to protect construction workers. This is for two reasons; (1) construction work is extremely dangerous, and (2) workers are very often forced to work under unsafe conditions and without proper safety devices. Construction projects usually run on tight schedules. Delays cost money and, sometimes, safety precautions slow down the work or lower the profit margin. In any event, it is usually the worker who suffers because he needs his job and is no position to challenge his boss. The reality of the situation is that on many construction sites, the most dangerous work is done by men and women who labor in constant fear of losing their jobs if they complain about working conditions or the lack of proper safety equipment or procedures.
In order to give construction workers the “extraordinary” protection they are rightly entitled to, the New York Legislature has passed (and the courts have enforced) sections of the New York State Labor Law where property/building owners as well as their general contractors are “absolutely liable” for injuries or deaths to workers caused by a violation of one of those provisions. In fact, the worker, or his estate, can recover even if the worker was negligent, so long as he or she was not the “sole” cause of the accident or was a “recalcitrant worker,” who disregarded specific safety instructions or procedures or refused to use available safety devices.
The types of construction accidents most commonly associated with “absolute liability” under the Labor Law involve:
- Scaffolds of all types, sizes and heights
- Ladders of all kinds
- Cranes, hoists and pulleys
- Falling objects
- Safety devices that fail
- Excavation work
- Blasting or the use of explosives for demolition
- Objects falling through unguarded shaftways or other unprotected openings
- Falls from rooftops, through skylights, through unguarded openings or shaftways
- Window washing accidents
- Demolition work
- Various types of collapses
- Failure to provide a “safe place to work”
- Defective safety devices (broken or improperly placed ladders, scaffolds)
- Missing safety devices (nets, safety harnesses, safety railings)
- Improper safety devices
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction related accident, please contact us today.