Construction is one of our region’s most important industries. Construction workers make incredibly important contributions to our economy and society. All construction workers deserve fair and safe conditions while on job sites. New York State’s Labor Law 240 (N.Y. Lab. Law § 240) is a construction industry that helps to protect workers.
Also referred to simply as the “Scaffold Law”, NY 240 holds property owners and general contractors liable for any gravity-related injuries to workers on a construction site if those injuries are caused by a failure to provide proper safety equipment or scaffolding. Here, our Albany construction accident lawyer dispels four of the most common misconceptions about the statute.
Myth #1: Falling Objects are Not a Particularly Dangerous Risk on Construction Sites
False. One of the most common misconceptions about construction accidents is that falling objects are not a particularly dangerous risk on job sites. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falling objects are one of the leading causes of construction accidents, responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year. According to data cited by 3M, approximately 42,000 construction workers nationwide are injured by falling objects each year. For this reason, New York’s Labor Law 240 places a heavy emphasis on protecting workers from falling objects by holding property owners and general contractors liable for any gravity-related injuries.
Myth #2: N.Y. Lab. Law § 240 Requires Proving Negligence on the Part of the Defendant
False. Another myth about New York’s Labor Law 240 is that it requires proving negligence on the part of the defendant in order for a worker to recover damages for a construction accident. This is not true. The law is based on strict liability, which means that a worker does not have to prove that the property owner or contractor was negligent in order to recover damages. Instead, they only have to prove that their injuries were caused by a failure to provide proper safety equipment or scaffolding. It is a very important distinction. The statute’s strict liability standard makes it easier for construction workers in Albany to recover damages for falling object injuries.
Myth #3: A Contractor or Property Owner is Automatically Liable for a Falling Objects Injury
False. While N.Y. Lab. Law § 240 imposes strict liability for failure to properly secure objects, it is not true that a contractor or property owner is automatically liable for a falling objects injury. The law holds them liable only if the injury was caused by a failure to provide proper safety equipment or scaffolding. The specific circumstances of a falling object construction accident always matter. It is imperative that your accident is thoroughly investigated by an experienced Albany, NY construction accident attorney. Your lawyer will ensure that you have the evidence to get full and fair financial compensation.
Myth #4: N.Y. Lab. Law § 240 is the Only Law that Provides Scaffold-Related Protections
False. There are other federal and state laws that may apply to a construction site as well. In addition to the Scaffold Law, workers are also protected by federal laws such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which sets standards for safety equipment and training. New York also has other important state-level statutes for the construction industry, including:
- N.Y. Lab. Law § 200: A section of New York State’s Labor Law that pertains to the general duty of employers to provide a safe working environment for employees. Specifically, it states that “every employer shall provide for the protection, safety, health and welfare of his employees.”
- N.Y. Lab. Law § 241: A section of New York State’s Labor Law that pertains to specific safety regulations for construction sites. It requires that employers comply with certain safety regulations and standards set by the state and federal government, and sets penalties for failure to do so. The law requires employers to provide safety devices and equipment, and to take other measures to protect workers from hazards and dangerous conditions on the job.
Call Our Albany Construction Accident Attorney for Immediate Help
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our Albany construction lawyers have the skills, experience, and expertise to handle the full range of New York Labor Law 240 claims. If you or your loved one was hurt while working on a construction site, we are here as a legal resource. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online for a no cost, no commitment case review. From our Albany law office, we handle construction accident claims throughout the surrounding area, including in Syracuse and Rochester.