NY Labor Law 240: What Workers Need to Know About NY Scaffolding Law
The construction industry is notorious for safety violations and work-related injuries – particularly when it comes to falls from high places. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four of the top ten OSHA standards that are violated by employers across the United States are related to fall protection and falls from ladders and scaffolding.
In New York, Section 240 of the state Labor Law protects the rights of construction workers who suffer a fall or who are struck by a falling object. Under Labor Law 240, construction companies and contractors must provide scaffolding and other safety precautions to protect workers, such as hoists, ladders, slings, pulleys, ropes, and stays. If a worker is hurt by a falling object, they may be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit under Section 240.
The Odierno Law Firm represents injury victims throughout Long Island who are hurt in accidents. With decades of combined experience, our legal team aggressively advocates to help our clients get maximum compensation for their losses. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island construction accident attorney.
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How Does NY Labor Law 240 Protect Construction Workers?
New York’s labor laws protect workers in all types of industries. Labor Law 240 – also referred to as the “scaffold law” – specifically protects workers who perform construction, demolition, and repair work on buildings. It covers workers who work on scaffolds, ladders, or other supports and any worker who is hurt by a falling object on a construction project.
Under this law, it is the responsibility of a construction company or building owner to have work done to provide safety equipment to workers to protect them from falls. It sets specific standards that contractors must follow, including providing safety devices. It also specifies that scaffolds must be able to bear four times the maximum weight of the workers and materials that will be placed on them.
Under the scaffold law, injured workers are not limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim for any workplace injuries that they suffer. Typically, when a worker is hurt on the job or develops an occupational illness, they cannot file a lawsuit against their employer. Instead, they are required to file a workers’ comp claim, as it is considered an exclusive remedy.
However, NY Labor Law 240 allows injured workers to file a lawsuit against a construction company for fall-related injuries. Because construction companies have absolute liability under this law, it is possible to pursue a lawsuit instead of just a workers’ compensation claim – which typically means that the worker will be able to recover more money. In a lawsuit, the at-fault party (defendant) may be required to pay for an injury victim’s medical bills, lost wages, lost union benefits, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and other losses.
The key in these cases is proving that the scaffold law applies. While this law is broadly applicable in the construction industry, it cannot be used in every claim involving a construction site accident. An experienced construction accident attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a case under the scaffold law in Long Island.
Pursuing a Claim Under NY Labor Law 240
The first hurdle that an injured worker must overcome is showing that they were working on a structure covered by Labor Law 240. This law does not apply to property owners or contractors who are working on one or two-family homes unless the homeowner has control over the work. It does apply to larger homes, all commercial buildings, and apartment buildings.
Next, a construction accident lawyer will have to prove that the construction work was being done on the structure itself, and not on other items (such as cutting down trees). The work must also involve demolition, altering, cleaning, painting, pointing, and/or repairing the structure. Importantly, it does not apply to other types of work, such as:
- Inspecting construction sites
- Installing holiday decorations
- Routine cleaning and maintenance
To recover under Labor Law 240, you must be able to prove that it applies to the claim. An experienced Long Island construction accident attorney will evaluate your case to determine if the law applies based on the following four factors:
- Was the injury victim a construction worker exposed to height-related hazards on the job?
- Was the defendant a covered entity (property owner and/or contractor)?
- Did the defendant violate the law by failing to provide proper protection?
- Was the violation the direct cause of the worker’s injuries?
Finally, any lawsuit brought under Labor Law 240 must be brought within the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New York. Generally, a lawsuit must be filed within 3 years of the date of the injury.
Hurt in a Construction Accident? Reach Out Today.
A construction accident – particularly a fall-related accident – can cause serious injuries. In some cases, a construction accident may even lead to death. If you have been hurt while working construction, our law firm can help.
The Odierno Law Firm will examine every aspect of your case to determine your rights and options for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit under Labor Law 240. We offer free initial consultations and handle all claims on a contingency fee basis. Give our law office a call today at 631-994-3043 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island construction accident lawyer.
Call The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. at (631) 752-8580 to discover your legal options in a free initial consultation!
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