Who is legally responsible for Construction Worksite Safety?

By Neil Kalra

Construction has more work-related deaths than any other industry in New York City, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Through October 2018, construction accidents and injuries (650) already exceeded the same number for all of 2017. Moreover, the fatality rate for 2018 was 20, eight more than 2017 (12).

Who is legally liable for compensation to the victims and their families? New York State’s labor laws place much of it on the property owners, developers and employers.

New York Labor Law § 200

Labor Law § 200: is a general duty that calls for property owners and contractors to quickly correct hazardous conditions and keep workplaces safe. They must repair, maintain, and store all equipment in a way that adequately protects everyone such as employees, contract workers, and people allowed to visit the construction site. Some examples of owner and contractor liability can include:

  • Construction site debris.

  • Structure failure.

  • Supervisor negligence.

  • Gas explosions.

  • Electrical or machinery accidents.

  • Snow and ice.

New York Labor Law § 240

Labor Law § 240: encompasses injuries to workers by (or on): scaffolds, ladders, hoists, slings, hangers, pulleys, ropes, and other similar apparatus. This is commonly called the “Scaffolding Law.” And it holds contractors and property owners liable for damages due to an “elevation-related” mishap on any jobsite. Scaffolding laws apply even when the injured employee ignores safety rules. And strict (absolute) liability usually applies to the contractor or owner, when safety equipment is inadequate or missing at elevated work sites. Some of these scaffolding injuries include:

  • Falls from heights and ladders.

  • Many forklift injuries.

  • Crane and hoisting accidents.

  • Site debris accidents.

  • Machinery accidents.

  • Struck by falling objects.

New York Labor Law § 241 (6)

Labor Law § 241(6) imposes a duty upon the general contractor and/or property owner to comply with all provisions of the New York State Industrial Code. Architects, subcontractors and manufacturers of equipment may also be held responsible for inadequate safety precautions. If you were injured while excavating, doing demolition work or performing other tasks on a construction site you may be entitled to benefits under this law.

Other Liable Parties for your Construction Injury

You may have a products liability claim against a manufacturer of a defective power tool which jams, fails to shut off, or blows apart under stress; or the maker of a faulty ladder or scaffolding which leads to a fall. You may also have a products liability claim against the maker of a product which emits toxic vapors and fumes, where the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about the danger and instructions for its safe use, such as wearing protective clothing or only using the product in a well-ventilated area.

You may also have a premises liability claim against the property owner if your accident was caused by an unsafe condition on the property that the owner failed to remedy or provide notice about. Also, third parties such as vendors and suppliers may drive onto the site and cause an injury. Architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors not directly related to your employer may all be liable if their negligence caused your injury.

Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due to a construction, car, commercial vehicle, or semi-truck accident; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you are entitled to.

The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting construction accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced construction accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your construction accident, call our New York City and Queens Construction accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211. www.unionlawyer.com

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