As the winter season comes to an end, Kingston and the rest of the Mid-Hudson
Valley welcomes the beginning of spring along with new construction projects
that commence during warmer weather seasons. While the construction seasons
is a time of opportunity for many workers in the region, experienced
Kingston construction accident attorneys know that too many construction workers are needlessly injured at the
work site. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a construction
site accident that caused injury or death, contact one of our attorneys today.
New York laws require workplaces to be kept safe for laborers. Any number
of persons may be liable if someone is injured at an unsafe site, including
contractors, subcontractors, and even property owners. In addition to
holding specific categories of people liable for worksite injuries, New
York laws also regulate certain types of construction site activities.
Construction workers who employ the use of ladders and scaffolding receive
special protection in New York. Specifically,New York Labor Law Sections
240and 241(6) regulate the use of scaffolding in order to keep laborers
safe. Even though New York has a worker’s compensation system that
generally precludes an employee from suing his or her employer, these
Labor Law sections allow an employee to sue an employer in the instance
of injuries obtained from working on scaffolds and ladders, among other
similar erection and climbing devices.
This means that contractors and subcontractors can be sued by employees
who were injured from falling off of unsafe equipment or when safety equipment
was not adequately provided. Moreover, courts have found employers strictly
liable to employees hurt in
scaffolding accidents; meaning that the employer is virtually automatically liable for the laborer’s
injuries. Even if the laborer was negligent, he or she may still be able
to recover from the employer under the Scaffolding Law.
As mentioned above, contractors, subcontractors, and property owners may
be parties held liable, but so too could scaffolding manufacturers, wholesalers,
Falls from Ladders
Even though the heights from which laborers fall off of scaffolding is
falls from ladders are just as dangerous and just as high. These heights at which workers
stand on these types of devices results in catastrophic injury and even
death. The severity of injuries for some laborers will exceed the limits
of health insurance policies. The degree of pain and suffering experienced
is beyond the imagination of most employees. Moreover, the injuries may
be so severe that the laborer will miss work for the entire construction
season, thereby losing his or her entire yearly income.
Quite often, contractors, subcontractors, and property owners know that
they are exposed to significant liability and will try to offer compensation
to the injured worker before the laborer had the opportunity to seek legal
advice. You should always contact an experienced construction accident
attorney before you accept such a settlement and prior to signing any
agreement that will waive your rights.
The same sections of New York Labor Law, noted above in the scaffolding
section, protect injured laborers who have fallen from ladders. Remember
that those in control of a worksite owe you a duty of care to keep the
Injuries from falling debris affect construction site workers, but it is
also a type of danger faced by
pedestrians who walk in the vicinity of construction zones. While hardhats are required
for laborers at the worksite, many employees are injured, or even killed,
by falling debris notwithstanding the use of hardhats. Even light construction
equipment or tools, such as a simple screwdriver, may cause immense harm
if the object fell onto a person from several stories above. Moreover,
wearing a hardhat will not save a laborer from injuries that result from
a falling cinderblock or being hit with the arm of a crane.
Accidents Caused by Fire and Explosions
Factory explosions occur every year and almost always make headlines in
local news. This is because explosions are an immediate indicator that
something went wrong that should have been prevented. Moreover, explosions
cause some of the most debilitating injuries if workers survive at all.
Explosion victims are known to suffer from lost vision, lost hearing,
loss of limb, and long term emotional trauma. Not only is the workplace
devastated, the neighborhoods surrounding the explosion are impacted.
Because of the catastrophic loss suffered when explosions occur, OSHA highly
regulates industries dealing with explosive substances and/or substances
likely to cause fire.
In summary, injuries suffered by construction site workers subject employers
and property owners to liability, regardless of Workers’ Compensation
statutes. Several areas of the construction industry are specifically
regulated; such as work performed on scaffolding, on ladders, and industries
dealing with explosive materials or fire hazards.