How New York Scaffold Safety Law Debate Will Affect Clients of NY Injury Lawyers

Posted by Robert Flaster on February 11, 2014

A few months ago, the New York Times posted an article about New York’s longstanding Scaffold Law.  Enacted in the 1880s to safeguard construction site workers from injuries during the advent of skyscraper construction, NY’s scaffold safety law places the burden of responsibility on contractors and construction companies to ensure that scaffolds, hoists and other aboveground building construction devices be provided to give proper protection to aboveground building construction workers. The law, which has been in place in some form despite continuous attempts to repeal it, has created a sharp divide between contractors & property owners who say the law hampers the growth and development of the construction industry, and construction workers & unions who claim the law as it stands is important to protect workers’ rights and prevent construction employees from being hurt on the job. If you were injured in a scaffold safety incident on a New York construction site, the New York construction accident lawyers of Robert A. Flaster P.C. can help determine how New York’s scaffold safety legislation and recent proposed amendments can affect the viability of your NY scaffold safety claim.

Scaffold Safety and the NY Scaffold Law Debate

Although New York’s Scaffold Law well over 120 years old, the issue of scaffold safety is a timeless problem in the construction industry. According to the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA), scaffold safety issues are ranked as the third most prevalent construction site safety issue after fall protection problems and hazard communication issues. In fact, fall-related accidents from scaffolding and related construction site safety issues are considered the deadliest of the OSHA’s Big Four causes of construction site fatalities.

Although New York’s Scaffold Law is designed to protect construction workers by holding contractors and construction companies liable for any lapses in adequate scaffold safety protection for aboveground building construction workers, contractors argue that the law is prejudicial and can hamper state economic and construction growth due to skyrocketing insurance premiums.  Under N.Y. Labor Law § 240, an owner or general contractor is held liable for any injuries resulting from unsafely-constructed or designed scaffolding, or from failure to provide adequate safety equipment–even if a different contractor is at fault.  Under § 240, an injured worker in these situations does not need to prove that the owner or general contractor was acting negligently to demonstrate their liability.

A proposed amendment to the NY Scaffold Law proposed earlier in the year suggests an approach based more on comparative negligence. Under the new amendment, if a jury or arbiter determines that both a plaintiff-employee and defendant-contractor played a role in causing the plaintiff’s injuries, that jury or arbiter can apportion damages based on the level of each party’s responsibility if the plaintiff was found to have been negligent in his work duties or found guilty for not properly following work safety procedures. This amendment, if passed, adds an additional burden of proof on construction site employees to prove that they did not play a role whatsoever in facilitating their injuries through their own negligent or careless conduct on the job. Therefore, if you or someone you know was involved in a NY scaffold safety case, it is vital to consult with experienced NY injury lawyer to determine whether or not you have a possible scaffold safety claim.

How Our NYC Scaffold Safety Lawyers and NY Injury Lawyers Can Help

If you or someone you know sustained serious injuries or death from a NYC scaffold safety construction accident case, contact the New York construction accident lawyers and NYC scaffold safety lawyers at Robert A. Flaster P.C. Our experienced NY injury lawyers and New York scaffold safety lawyers are very experienced in the area of New York scaffold safety laws, and will research the facts of your case and relevant laws to determine whether you have a potential NY scaffold safety claim. If we do find you have a possible NYC scaffold safety claim, our New York construction accident lawyers and New York scaffold safety lawyers will work with you to craft a legal strategy that will give your claim the strongest chance for succeeding in court.

Contact Robert A. Flaster P.C. today to set up an initial consultation with our New York construction accident lawyers and NYC scaffold safety attorneys, and let us help you take the first step toward determining whether you have a possible NY scaffold safety claim.