Various laws of New York State grant rights to injured workers; rights
that allow the injured worker to force an employer and/or property owner
to compensate the worker for construction site injuries. The Planking
Law is one such law very familiar to
experienced Newburgh construction site accident attorneys. It is found in
Labor Law Section 241-a, and states:
“Any men working in or at elevator shaftways, hatchways and stairwells
of buildings in course of construction or demolition shall be protected
by sound planking at least two inches thick laid across the opening at
levels not more than two stories above and not more than one story below
such men, or by other means specified in the rules of the board.”
In terms of contractor, subcontractor, and or property owner liability,
this means that a lack of planking and/or similar protections at a hatchway,
elevator shaft or stairway will cause said parties to be absolutely liable
for the injuries and damages suffered by employees due to the lack of
It does not matter if the employee knew that there was an absence of planking
or if the employee could have worked in a different area. The plain language
of the statute will protect the injured construction worker if planking
as specified in the law was missing.
The type of opening (shaftway, hatchway, and stairwell) does matter. The
opening must be for human access. A ventilation shaft, or a garbage disposal,
while openings, they are not meant to be openings for human movement from
one floor to another.
There is another nuance. Simply because a building or construction site
has shaftways, hatchways, and or stairwells, it does not mean that all
accidents at the worksite are covered by
New York Labor Law 214-a. The injured worker must have been working in, at or on a shaftway, hatchway,
or stairwell at a construction site when the accident occurred.
Employees performing construction work are the specific people protected
by the law and owners, contractors, subcontractors, and agents thereof
are the specific types of people held accountable to this law.
It cannot be stressed enough that the law imposes strict (absolute) liability
for construction worker injuries that happen when this law is violated.
This means that the injured worker does not have to prove that the owner
and or contractor were negligent; there needn’t be a showing that
anybody intentionally did something bad. Once the statutory protections
are violated and a construction worker is injured working on a shaftway,
hatchway, and or stairwell, the injured party will almost automatically
win the case; it will just be about how much compensation the victim will receive.
Learn more about law and liability concerning construction site accidents in
our latest article posted here. Read more about New York Labor Law 240 and how it can protect you in
our blog posted here.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.