November 18, 2015 • Construction Accidents
There’s been a lot of controversy over the years about the New York scaffolding law, also called “New York Labor Law 240.” It’s something that most people outside the field aren’t very familiar with, but it ends up being a big deal in terms of workplace liability for New York construction workers.
Experts explain the New York scaffolding law as putting “absolute liability” on contractors and companies that employ construction workers. Instead of factoring in contributing fault on the part of the worker, the scaffold law keeps the burden of liability on the employer or the party coordinating the job.
This is a unique law in New York that is different than most other similar workplace laws around the country.
New York’s scaffold law is over a century old. It was created in 1885 as the city first began to grow upward. It was written to protect construction workers who were working on some of the tallest buildings in the country.
Since it was put in place, the NY Scaffold Law has been modified quite a bit. In some cases, such modifications meant adding specific covered cases, and in other instances, legislators instituted some reforms, such as requiring workers to prove that an accident was related to safety conditions at the site.
Opponents of the law still say that it’s hard to factor in something like, for example, the refusal of employees to use available safety equipment and there’s quite a large burden on the companies doing the construction. In addition, some insurance companies have reacted by making it harder to insure projects in the state of New York or by refusing to do business in New York, which some argue has driven up premiums for customers.
While New York Labor Law 240 gives broad protections to workers, it’s not accurate to say that it has no limitations. New York courts have evaluated the scaffold law in various ways and have ruled on cases where the criteria don’t fit the statute. There’s been a restrictive set of rulings on what constitutes a structure under New York Labor Law 240, and what kinds of work injury cases fall into that particular category of protected work activities.
In addition, advocates argue that workers need these kinds of protections to prevent companies from cutting corners. Many workers still die each year working on the constructions of tall buildings or structures, and advocates also point to a larger risk for minorities who may be employed by companies less likely to put comprehensive security safeguards in place. As daunting as it may seem for companies, the New York Scaffold Law does save lives and it gives injured workers more of a chance of collecting the compensation they need after an accident.
New York injury lawyers know about the controversy surrounding New York Labor Law 240, and they also understand its importance in state legislation. They know the usual barriers to compensation in a work injury case and how to make sure their clients are heard in New York courts. When it comes to securing the right support after an accident, injury victims can rely on qualified injury lawyers to work in their best interests and get them justice in court.
New York workers harmed in scaffold accidents or other kinds of construction accidents can call the New York city area law firm of Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff. We have experience working on personal injury and wrongful death cases within the state of New York and we will help evaluate a personal injury case for an injured worker. Let us help you get justice in local courts after a work accident.