Construction workers and the Labor Laws of New York.

Contruction workers

Thousands of construction workers are injured on job sites throughout the state of New York on a yearly basis. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you need to speak to an experienced construction accident attorney so that they can review and evaluate all the facts of your accident and potential case and you can get advice on the laws that may apply to your case.

The Labor Laws of New York have been enacted to protect construction workers injured on job sites. Those labor laws were enacted to protect the construction workers and ensure that the sites on which they work are safe and that the procedures used to complete the work are in line with the safety policies and procedures.

If the owner of the job site, construction manager and/or the general contractor violate any of those laws and a construction worker is injured, that construction worker can bring a claim for personal injury against those parties. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, generally your case may fall within three different sections. The Labor Law of New York as applied to construction accidents is divided into three sections.

1. Section 200
2. Section 240 (1)
3. Section 241 (6)

Depending on the facts of your construction accident, your case may involve each one of those sections, or it may only involve one of those sections and that’s why it’s important that you contact a construction accident Attorney so that they can obtain all of the facts of your accident and identify which of those sections applies to your accident.

Labor Law 200

Section 200 of the Labor of New York provides that all worksites:
“be constructed, equipped, arranged, operated, and conducted to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health, and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places. All machinery, equipment and devices in such places shall be so placed operated, guarded, unlighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons. Violation of this section that causes an injury to a construction worker gives rise to a potential action against the liable parties.”

In essence, Section 200 of the Labor Law as referenced above generally deals with two main areas:
1. The means and methods of the work that was being conducted, i.e. how the work was being performed and who was responsible for dictating how that work was being done; and/or;
2. Dangerous conditions that exist on a job site, for example, tripping hazards or holes that exist on-site that a worker could fall into.

Whether an owner, construction manager, general contractor or applicable sub-contractors are responsible under section 200 will depend on (i) whether those parties supervised and directed the manner in which the work was being done or (ii) if it’s the case that the accident arises from a dangerous condition on-site, whether those parties had notice (knew of or should have known about) that condition or conditions and/or those parties created the dangerous condition that caused the accident.

Section 200 is a complex section and very fact-specific to each case, and it is for that reason that it’s very important that you reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney so that they can evaluate the facts of your case and identify if your action falls within section 200 of the Labor Law.

Labor Law 240 (1)

Commonly known as the New York Scaffold Law, the Labor Law Section of 240 (1) was enacted in 1855. It serves to protect all construction workers who risk life and limb to build this magnificent city.
The scaffold law doesn’t just apply to scaffolds, it applies to any accident or situation that arises on a job site as a result of an elevation differential, what that means is anything that involves a height difference. So, for example, a worker who falls from a height off a ladder or scaffold or where a worker is struck by something that has fallen, that is commonly known as a ‘falling object’ case. In New York, the labor law section 240 (1) is designed to protect workers who are working at heights or who are exposed to objects that may fall from above.

Section 240 (1) of the Labor Law is a very strict section of the construction accident law because if it is found that there is a violation of Section 240 (1), the defendants, which could be the owner, construction manager, general contractor and any applicable agents of the owner, are strictly liable for the accident. That means that if you can prove that there was a violation of the scaffold law 240 (1), 100% liability is granted against the defendants in your case even if the injured worker was negligent him/herself. The key factor is not whether the worker was negligent, the question is whether the worker was the sole cause of his or her own accident. If the worker is the “sole” cause of the accident, there is no liability on the Defendants.

The Law in this area provides that:
“All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect,
or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.”

This law therefore doesn’t apply to owners of one and two family homes but does provide protection to construction workers and workers involved in the “erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure.”

This law can be controversial at times because it gives the injured worker the right to sue not only the owner of the construction site but also the general contractors and any agents of the owner, which may include the construction manager even though they may not have had anything to do with the work that the worker was doing at the time. The reason for this is that the Courts want to provide adequate protection to the worker that responsibility for site safety lies at the door of the owners and contractors on site. A common example of a 240 (1) case is;
• A worker who falls from a scaffold when the planks that he is standing on collapses;
• A worker who falls from a scaffold because of the lack of guardrails;
• A worker who was falls off a ladder that he was given to use when a scaffold would have been a safer device to use.
• A painter who falls off a ladder;
• An object or piece of equipment that falls as it is being hoisted upward and strikes a worker standing below.
• An object or piece of equipment that should have been secured to a wall or building that comes loose, falls and strikes a worker standing below.
• A cleaner who is struck by a piece of equipment.

The labor law of 240 (1) is designed to protect the worker in those instances and more. Again, just like section 200, it is crucial that if you’ve been involved in a construction accident, you reach out to an experienced construction accident attorney to discuss your case and see if Labor Law 240 (1) applies to your case.

Labor Law 241 (6)

New York Labor Law Section 241 (6) relates to construction sites and imposes a non-delegable duty on the property owner and the contractors to provide specific protection to construction workers. The law specifically provides that all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the person’s employed therein or lawfully frequenting switch places. It’s important to note that the section explicitly states that it only applies to areas involved in construction, excavation and demolition work.

The New York Labor Law Section 241 (6) refers to and is intertwined with Part 23 of title 12 of the New York codes rules and regulations (NYCRR), and Part 23, known as the “Industrial Code” deals specifically with different items and activities that are protected under 241 (6). Statue Liberty and New York city skyline

Section 241 subsection (6) deals with a number of items and a number of construction activities that may take place on a job site. It deals with the general responsibility of employers, the responsibility of employees, specific provisions to protect workers from general hazards, provisions related to personal protective equipment, the guarding of power-driven machinery, electrical hazards, combustion devices, safety railing, safety belts, harnesses, tail lines and lifelines, life nets, sidewalk, sheds, catch platforms, ladders and lateral ways, handprints propelled vehicles, illumination and many more activities that are conducted on job sites. In addition, section 241 (6) refers to specific provisions of part 23 that deal specifically with construction operations, demolition operations, excavation operations, scaffolding, the hoisting of materials, personnel hoists, cranes, power-operated equipment and internal combustion engines.

In order to hold an owner, contractor or owners’ agent responsible under Section 241 (6), you need to show that those parties have violated a specific and concrete provision of the Industrial Code to fall within the protection of Section 241 (6). To prove that violation may be straight forward and blatantly obvious but in many cases, to do that may require the hiring of a specific expert, an engineering expert, a safety expert, or a mechanical expert for example and those are decisions that will be taken by your construction accident attorney.

Just as with sections 200 & 240 (1), it is crucial that you speak to an experienced construction accident attorney to evaluate your case so that the attorney can understand the facts of your accident and make a determination as to whether section 241 (6) or any of the other sections of the labor law apply to your case.

These three sections of the Labor Law are broad and can be complex at times, and it is important that you speak with an experienced construction accident attorney when it comes to a construction accident that you’ve been involved in.

The Law Offices of Darren T Moore has experience representing victims of construction accidents and other personal injury accidents and has successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for workers injured on the job site.

An example of some of our construction accident results are:
• $6,500,000.00 for a construction worker who fell from a ladder.
• $1,800,000.00 for an undocumented construction worker who fell off a ladder;
• $1,500,000.00 for a union labourer who was struck by an object on a construction site;
• $600,000.00 for an undocumented construction worker who stood on a nail on a construction site and suffered a foot injury.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a construction accident, contact the Law Offices of Darren T Moore for a free consultation at 917-809-7014.

What is a Deposition?

Deposition lawyer

A deposition is an examination that is held under oath in relation to the case you are involved in. If you bring a lawsuit because you’ve been injured in a personal injury accident, car accident, construction accident, premises accident for example, one of the stages of bringing that lawsuit will likely include appearing for a deposition. If you are being sued in an action as a Defendant, you will also likely have to appear for a deposition.

When we say an exam, it’s not an exam to test you in any way but it’s simply a process where the other side get to ask questions of you about yourself, your accident and your injuries. We tell everyone of our clients, it’s not a guessing game, its simply an exercise in finding out the information that you have related to your case. The purpose of a deposition is to find out what information that particular witness has and to allow all parties find out the essential facts of the case before going to trial.

Our firm deals with depositions in personal injury actions on a daily basis. For personal injury actions, we always prepare our clients in advance of the deposition and inform them as to why they are doing a deposition and what the deposition entails. We inform them that they will be questioned about their background because this is a personal injury action, and they’re entitled to get to know a little bit about you. In the same token, we are entitled to ask background questions of the Defendant(s) witnesses to get to know about them also. In addition, they will ask you questions about your accident, how it occurred, when it occurred and the details surrounding the accident. They will then ask you questions about your injuries, your medical treatment, and how the injuries from the accident have affected your life.

Where does the Deposition take place? Do I need to appear before a judge?

In order to bring personal injury lawsuit, a deposition is one of the most fundamentally important stages of that lawsuit. It is crucial that you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to prepare you and educate you so that you feel comfortable and prepared before undergoing the deposition.

Most depositions take place in a reporting office, you sit around the table with your attorney and the attorneys for the other side sit across the table and between the two sides, a court reporter or stenographer as they are called will transcribe what is said during the deposition. Since Covid 19 entered our lives, most if not all of our depositions have been conducted remotely over zoom which is very convenient for all sides involved and also allows the witness to feel more comfortable, some do it from the comfort of their own home, some come to their attorney’s offices.

It’s important to note that being questioned in a deposition is the same as being questioned in court because you are under oath, swearing to tell the truth so it’s important that you are truthful and prepared for your deposition.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, a car accident, a construction accident, slip and fall or a trip and fall accident, call the Law Offices of Darren T Moore P.C for a free consultation at 917-809-7014 and speak to our experienced personal injury attorneys who will guide you and direct you along the right path in relation to the steps that need to be taken to protect your interests.

Construction Accident – Trip and Fall

Construction accident lawyer

As we mentioned in our previous blog post regarding slip and fall accidents https://www.injurylawatty.com/our-blog/, according to the United States Department of Labor statistics, out of 4,779 worker deaths in the private industry in 2018, 1,008 occurred in the construction industry. Aptly called the “fatal four,” the four main causes of worker deaths in the construction industry were falls, followed by being struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. The “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6%) the construction worker deaths in 2018.

Many of these falls occur because of carelessness and dangers on job sites, because of the fact that profits and deadlines are prioritized over safety and the employee. The person who sits in the large windowed office is often the person who reaps the benefits of the jobs expedited completion but he/she is not the one who puts themselves in harm’s way to get to that stage. That role is played by the unknowing construction worker who often suffers a fall and subsequent injury because of the shortcuts that were taken on site to get to the stage of completion. “Falls,” be it from a height, through a hole, as a result of slipping on a slippery substance make up a large majority of the reported falls on construction sites but there is also the “trip and fall” that occurs on a job site that causes serious personal injury that includes, fractures, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, orthopedic injury and even death.

If you’ve been injured due to a trip and fall while working at a construction site or project, workers compensation is likely NOT YOUR ONLY OPTION.

Yes, workers compensation will cover your medical treatment and your loss of earnings but you may be entitled to bring an action for personal injury and compensation against the owner and general contractor of the job site because of the dangerous and unsafe condition of the construction site that caused your injury. The Labor Law in New York was enacted to protect construction workers who suffer on the job injuries as a result of dangerous and defective on-site conditions.

You should talk to an experienced construction accident attorney at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC who can guide and advise you as to whether you have a valid personal injury claim.

At the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC, our construction accident attorney’s will evaluate the facts surrounding your accident and can guide and potentially fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries which may include not only past pain and suffering, lost wages and medical but also the future pain and suffering, future loss of earnings and future medical costs.

Labor Law 241(6)

ALL CONTRACTORS AND OWNERS AND THEIR AGENTS, EXCEPT THE OWNERS OF ONE AND TWO FAMILY DWELLINGS WHO CONTRACT FOR BUT DO NOT DIRECT OR CONTROL THE WORK, WHEN CONSTRUCTING OR DEMLISHING BUILDINGS OR DOING ANY EXCAVATING IN CONNECTION THEREWITH SHALL COMPLY WITH THE RULES AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE INDUSTRIAL CODE – Part 23 of Title 12 of the NEW YORK CODES, RULES AND REGULATIONS (NYCRR).

Part 23 deals with an array of different construction activities and situations and this article will focus on § 23-1.7 (e)(1) and (2) which focuses on Protection from Tripping and Other Hazards:

The section states:

(1)   Passageways.   All passageways shall be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from any other obstructions or conditions which could cause tripping. Sharp projections which could cut or puncture any person shall be removed or covered.

(2)   Working areas.   The parts of floors, platforms and similar areas where persons work or pass shall be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from scattered tools and materials and from sharp projections insofar as may be consistent with the work being performed.

Now importantly, what is a working area and what is a passageway is very often case and fact specific and this is where an experienced construction accident attorney comes in. At the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC, our New York construction accident law firm will conduct an in-depth investigation into your case and the happening of the accident to evaluate if you have a potential cause of action against the owner and general contractor on your construction project.

The statute as referenced above, protects construction workers working on, using and travelling along “passageways” and “working areas” from tripping hazards which include items that are deemed to be an obstruction and even sharp projections like stepping on a nail. For example, if there is debris strewn around the construction site and that debris obstructs your path on site or you step on this debris and step on a “sharp extrusion” like stepping on a nail, you could be entitled to compensation. Again, this is why it’s important to sit down and discuss your accident with an experienced construction accident attorney who can help identify if your accident occurred in a passageway or walkway, if the debris will be deemed to be a dangerous condition or was it “inherent in the work that was been completed at the time.” Our New York Construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore PC are familiar with the nuances of the Labor Law and familiar with the specific sections like § 23-1.7 (e)(1) and (2) and can evaluate the facts of your case to determine if there is a potential claim for personal injury and compensation.

This list is not exhaustive but common areas that trip and fall accidents occur on a construction site are:

  • Walkway’s
  • Sidewalk
  • Hallway
  • Work area
  • Passageway
  • Lobby
  • Vestibule
  • Shanty
  • Common areas

Common causes of trip and fall accidents on construction sites include:

  • Debris
  • Planks
  • Building material
  • Sharp extrusions like stepping on a nail
  • Tools
  • Mis leveled sidewalk flag
  • Improperly placed bollards and cones
  • Steel bolts

What to do if you have tripped and fallen on a construction site?

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • DO NOT be forced by any person, supervisor or other person to tell medical professionals at the scene, the EMS or the ER that your accident happened any other way than the way in which it occurred. Often, unbeknownst to you, your boss, supervisor, foreman may tell you that it’s in your interest to say that the accident happened in a different way or even at a different location. This is a sneaky and selfish way for them to possibly avoid liability and harm any genuine claim for injury that you may have.

After that, there are important steps to take in order to protect yourself and any future claim you may bring. You should:

  • Report your accident to a foreman or supervisor or site safety person
  • Take photos and videos of the area and condition that caused your accident, or ask someone to take pictures or videos for you if you are unable to due to injuries
  • Gather contact information of any witnesses, including names and contact details
  • Request that your employer alert workers compensation of your accident
    As soon as practical, you should consult a construction accident attorney to protect your rights. If you have sustained an injury at work on a construction site in New York, an attorney can file a claim on your behalf for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your medical treatment as a result of the injuries suffered along with paying your lost wages up to a maximum of $934.11 per week.

What can I claim if I have a case for injury that occurred on a construction site?

  • Money damages for Pain and suffering both past and future
  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses for treatment, assistance and procedures that you’re are likely to require
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of future earnings which can include annuity, pension, insurance and union benefits

What if I am illegal or undocumented?

The construction industry provides work to thousands of undocumented workers in New York and many of them suffer on the job injury. If you are an illegal immigrant/undocumented person who was injured you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Your status is protected and cannot be reported to the authorities and doesn’t prevent you from bringing a claim. You need to contact the construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T Moore P.C.

At the Law Offices of Darren T. Moore PC, our construction accident attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve following a construction accident. Our construction accident attorneys have extensive knowledge of both New York labor laws and regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York Industrial Code including Section 241(6) as referenced above. Call us now at (917) 809-7014 for a FREE CONSULTATION and remember WE ONLY RECOVER IF YOU RECOVER. Our goal is “MOOREJUSTICE” for each and every client.

Construction Accidents: What Is The Labor Law And How Does It Apply To Me?

Construction accidents, unfortunately, remain a common occurrence in the United States, and especially in New York City. According to the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), there were 586 injuries and 11 deaths related to construction accidents in the city in 2019. Six of the deaths happened in Manhattan. Even more shockingly, these fatalities can sometimes be underreported when official statistics are compiled each year.

Although the number of construction-related injuries in NYC has declined relative to previous years, these figures remain higher than those from 2015 and construction is still considered the most perilous industry in NYC, per a story from CBS Local published in 2019. Fatalities are up 33% relative to 2015.

Causes Of Construction Accidents

The four most frequent types of construction-related injuries are falls, being struck by an object, being caught under or between an object, and electrocution. Common causes of construction accidents include:

  • Defective ladders and scaffolds
  • Improperly built scaffolds
  • Falling objects that should have been secured
  • Partial building collapses
  • Sharp objects (like saws, nails, and broken glass) left lying around within passageways
  • Improper use of cranes and forklifts

Other more intangible and organizational causes of construction accidents include:

Profit over people and budgeting decisions: One common way of cutting budget costs involves reducing the workforce and circumventing safety procedures, which is evidently risky.

Deadlines: Especially in the construction industry, you hear them say “this needs to be done yesterday.” Contracts may include late fees and penalties so impending deadlines can lead to shortcuts especially when it comes to how work is done and worker safety.

Improper training: Whether it’s complying with OSHA 30 or even attending the toolbox talks on site, some contractors and job sites adhere to it and unfortunately some don’t.

New York’s Construction Labor Laws

Under New York State labor laws, construction company owners and contractors are required to ensure that all areas they control are “reasonably safe” for all workers, per Labor Law 200. That includes the job site itself, the equipment and machinery that is being used and also the methods by which the work is being done. Section 200, is in essence, what we call “common law negligence.” This section of the Labor Law is narrow in that you need to show that the owner and general contractor on the job site in some way controlled and directed the work that resulted in the injury that a construction worker suffered and in many cases, the work that was being done at the time is usually controlled and directed by one’s own employer and not by the owner or the General Contractor. In addition to the work that is being done, the owner and general contractor are responsible for dangerous conditions on the job site like structural defects and conditions as long as they knew about the condition, or the condition existed for such a sufficient period of time that they should have known, observed or identified the condition.

Section 240(1) of New York’s labor laws, which is commonly referred to as the “Scaffold Law” provides protection for a construction worker in relation to what the courts refer to as “gravity-related” incidents, i.e. falls from a height such as a ladder or a scaffold, scaffold boards collapsing and causing construction worker to fall, falling through a hole on the job site and also falling object cases, for example where an object that should have been secured falls, strikes and injures a construction worker. This section of the labor law provides great protection to the worker and holds the owner and general contractor on the site, absolutely liable for a gravity-related incident as long as the worker was not 100% at fault for his own incident. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? It means that even where the construction worker may have contributed to the incident if it’s shown that he/she wasn’t afforded proper protection, the owner and general contractor are 100% at fault. A simple example of this would be where a construction worker who is on a ladder that can’t be tied off or doesn’t extend the requisite three (3) feet above the roof or parapet falls from the ladder when he/she overreaches to grab a tool. The worker, in that case, contributed to his accident in overreaching but the fact that the ladder couldn’t be tied off or didn’t extend above the roof is a violation of the labor law and the owner and general contractor are then held completely at fault. Once it can be shown that there was a violation of any type, irrespective of whether the owner and general contractor was even aware of such a violation or dangerous condition, they ( the owner and GC ) will be held 100% at fault for the incident and the resulting injury. This section of the law was brought in to provide great protection to construction workers and by holding the owner and general contractors responsible, the law imposes upon them the responsibility of making sure that all contractors and subcontractors on-site work safely and in conjunction with the rules and regulations for construction.

The third major section is Labor Law Section 241(6), which relates to construction, excavation, and demolition on sites. The section states that “all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.”

This section provides and requires that work is performed in a safe manner and protects workers from exposure to safety hazards that can result in serious construction injuries. This section of the Labor Law specifically refers to Section 23 of the New York Industrial Code which lays out and specifies the rules related to construction, demolition and excavation activities. Whether it relates to the height a ladder can extend above a roof, the maximum weight or load allowed on a scaffold, the condition of a construction site passageway, the sufficient amount of lighting required in a construction site area and the proper condition of power-operated equipment, this section lays out specifically the rules and requirements for each contractor and construction site to operate by. In order to be successful under this section, you must prove a violation of a sufficiently specific provision of the Industrial Code. This is where an experienced construction accident attorney is needed, someone who can navigate the specific sections of the Labor Law and in particular Section 23 of the Industrial Code.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a construction accident, call the construction accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T. Moore PC for a free consultation.

What To Do After A Construction Accident

Firstly, we tell each and every client that we speak with, if you have been injured in an accident of any kind, seek medical attention. After that, there are important steps to take in order to protect yourself and any future claim you may bring. You should:

  • Report your accident to a foreman or supervisor
  • Take photos and videos of the area and circumstances of your accident, or ask someone to take pictures for you if you are unable to due to injuries
  • Gather all relevant information from any witnesses, including names and contact details, or ask someone to do it for you if you are unable to due to injuries.
  • Request that your employer alert workers compensation of your accident

As soon as practicable, you should consult a construction accident attorney to protect your rights. If you have sustained an injury at work on a construction site in New York, an attorney can file a claim on your behalf for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your medical treatment as a result of the injuries suffered along with paying your lost wages up to a maximum of $934.11 per week.

At The Law Offices Of Darren T. Moore PC, our construction accident attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve following a construction accident. Our construction accident attorneys have extensive knowledge of both New York labor laws and regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the New York Industrial Code. The types of compensation you can potentially recover include damages related to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future loss of wages, earnings, and benefits