Many construction workers use ladders and scaffolds to work at heights. Whether constructing a skyscraper, building a bridge or washing windows, the risk of falling from heights is great. The general contractors and property owners have the ability to determine what equipment is necessary to keep these workers safe. It is out of this obligation and duty that the New York Labor Law provides construction workers extra protection under Labor Law Section 240, also known as the Scaffold Law.
The Scaffold Law provides that property owners and general contractors are strictly liable for accidents that occur when a worker is injured as a result of a lack of safety devices. However, this absolute liability does not apply to situations where the worker is the “sole proximate cause” of the accident.This law, which was designed for the safety of the construction workers, has been under much scrutiny lately. There has been a furious effort to reform the Scaffolding Law by builders and developers, who claim the law adds hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to construction projects. These lobbyists launched a major drive this year to change the law.
The efforts met fierce resistance by not only labor unions, who said any roll back would put workers at risk, but also by the State Assembly, who killed the proposed changes. The announcement came after a big rally on June 17th at 45-11 Broadway in Astoria, the construction site where former construction worker Ricardo Gonzalez fell 15 feet from the first floor of the building and later died from head trauma in late January. The crowd rallied to call on lawmakers to maintain the Scaffold Law to ensure the safety of construction workers across the city.
For construction workers, this was a major victory. Although the law does not guaranty a safe work site and cannot erase the pains and consequences of an accident, it may provide the monetary relief needed in the event of a construction site accident.
Scaffolding Accident Representation In New York & New Jersey
If you have been involved in a scaffolding accident and have suffered serious injuries, you should call Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C. at (800) 529-9997 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a New York scaffold injury attorney.