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What New York Labor Law Says About Construction Work Injuries?


As such, injuries to these workers, unfortunately, occur routinely. 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013 (3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) – on average, 85 a week or more than 12 deaths every day.

1 797 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries in 2013 – on average, more than 15 deaths a week or two Latino workers killed every single day of the year, all year long. Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2013.

Construction’s “Fatal Four”

Out of 3,929 worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2013, 796 or 20.3% were in construction – that is, one in five worker deaths were in construction. The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, followed by “struck by object”, electrocution, and “caught-in/between”. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.7%) the construction worker deaths in 2013, BLS reports. Eliminating the Fatal Four would save 468 workers’ lives in America every year.

There are unique laws and regulations in New York designed to protect the men and women who risk their lives and livelihood every day while earning a living. In addition to workers compensation laws, many in the labor force are entitled to the protections of New York’s Labor Law, which was enacted to compensate workers who are injured on a job site as a result of height-related risks and/or of safety violations. New York State has enacted certain provisions in the Labor Law to protect laborers and allow them to seek monetary damages in certain cases.

New York Labor Law § 240

New York Labor Law § 240 contains special provisions for workers injured by or on scaffolds, ladders, hoists, stays, slings, hangers, pulleys, irons, ropes, blocks, braces and other similar devices. This unique section of the New York Labor Law, commonly known as the “Scaffolding Law,” holds contractors and property owners liable for damages arising from lawsuits filed in cases where an elevation-related accident occurs on the property. Even when an injured employee ignores safety rules at a job site, the liability likely will fall to the contractor or owner, rendering them strictly liable for workers injured as a result of inadequate or missing safety equipment at elevated work sites. Labor Law § 240 injuries and accidents include:

  • Scaffolding accidents;
  • Falls from heights;
  • Forklift injuries;
  • Crane accidents;
  • Hoisting accidents;
  • Ladder falls;
  • Site debris accidents;
  • Machinery accidents;
  • Being struck by falling objects.

New York Labor Law § 241 (6)

Labor Law § 241(6) imposes a duty upon the general contractor and/or property owner to comply with all provisions of the New York State Industrial Code. Architects, subcontractors and manufacturers of equipment may also be held responsible for inadequate safety precautions. If you were injured while excavating, doing demolition work or performing other tasks in on a construction site, you may be entitled to benefits under Labor § Law 241 (6).

New York Labor Law § 200

Labor Law § 200 codifies a common law obligation to use reasonable care in the maintenance of a work site. There are many factors that can result in injuries on construction sites, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Construction site debris;
  • Structure failure;
  • Supervisor negligence;
  • Gas explosions;
  • Electrical accidents;
  • Machine accidents;
  • Incomplete structures;
  • Snow and ice.

New York Construction Injury Verdicts

Some of the largest verdicts in New York since 2012 resulted from construction litigation involved New York Labor Law. The verdicts included one for nearly $20 million, one for $16.5 million, one for $13 million, and two for $11 million. Timely and thorough handling and investigation is critical to successfully litigating a potential New York labor law claim.

Learn about your legal options if you have been injured on the job. Call the New York construction accident lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP at 212-605-6200 or submit an electronic inquiry on this website.

¹Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) preliminary 2013 workplace fatality data


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