Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as OSHA, construction accidents have actually declined by nearly 40 percent over the past five years. Even so, construction accidents which result in death or serious injury are all too common. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than six million people currently work in the construction industry—about 4 percent of the nation’s entire work force. Construction projects as a whole have specific safety hazards, many of which are challenging to eliminate due to the nature of the work. These safety hazards can result in construction accidents, some of them fatal, although many are the result of specific negligence. As such, it is important to contact an experienced New York construction accident lawyer at Talisman & DeLorenz, P.C., Members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, as soon as possible.

Construction Accident Statistics

According to recent statistics, one in five worker deaths across the nation occurred at a construction site. In the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island boroughs of New York there were 231 reported construction accidents with 8 construction accident fatalities.

The largest percentage of construction site accidents occurred when a worker fell, followed by material falling on a worker, mechanical construction equipment accidents, and scaffolding accident injuries. According to OSHA, the “fatal four” in the construction industry are:

1. Falls
2. Being struck by an object
3. Electrocution
4. Being caught in or between objects or machinery.

If those fatal four could be eliminated, at least 468 construction workers’ lives would be saved across the nation annually.

New York’s Labor Laws Protecting Construction Workers

Because of the high number of construction workers injured and killed across the United States and in New York, the State’s Labor Law provides standards that property owners and contractors in the construction industry must follow in order to ensure the safety of workers. As a result of these laws, construction injuries and deaths in New York State have actually declined.

New York State Labor Law §200 requires that owners and contractors maintain properties and construction sites so that they “shall be so constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as 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, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.” This provision also applies to individuals who are not employed in construction, demolition or renovation.

New York State Labor Law §240, sometimes referred to as “the Scaffolding Law”, protects construction workers, and certain other types of workers, who are injured by falls or falling objects due to an owners’ and/or contractors’ failure to provide adequate safety devices. It states 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.” Appropriate safety devices frequently include, but are not limited to, adequately placed, arranged and secured scaffolding, ladders, safety harnesses, safety railings, fencing, netting, braces, lanyards and barricades. Liability pursuant to Labor Law §240 has been established when violation of the statute is shown and that said violation was a contributing cause of the worker’s fall. The section imposes absolute liability on owners, contractors and their agents for any breach of the statutory duty that is a substantial factor in causing a worker’s injury.

New York State Labor Law §241(6) imposes a non-delegable duty of reasonable care upon owners and contractors to provide reasonable and adequate safety and protection to persons employed in, or lawfully frequenting, all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed. This Labor Law section also provides that violation of a administrative regulation promulgated in the New York State Industrial Code is some evidence of negligence while a violation of an explicit provision of the statute proper gives rise to absolute liability without regard to whether any failure to observe any special statutory precautions was caused by the fault and negligence of any particular individual. §241(6) therefore, imposes a non-delegable duty upon an owner or general contractor to respond in damages for injuries sustained due to another party’s negligence in failing to conduct a construction, demolition or excavation operation so as to provide for the reasonable and adequate protection of persons employed therein.

Other provisions of New York State Labor Law §241 protect workers, in certain circumstances, injured in elevator shafts or as a result of inadequate flooring. New York State Labor Law §202 protects window washers, in certain circumstances. It states that “the owner, lessee, agent and manager of every public building and every contractor involved shall provide such safe means for the cleaning of the windows and of exterior surfaces of such building as may be required and approved by the board of standards and appeals. The owner, lessee, agent, manager or superintendent of any such public building and every contractor involved shall not require, permit, suffer or allow any window or exterior surface of such building to be cleaned unless such means are provided to enable such work to be done in a safe manner for the prevention of accidents and for the protection of the public and of persons engaged in such work in conformity with the requirements of this chapter and the rules of the board of standards and appeals.”

Slip and trip accidents, water accidents, air contamination hazards and chemical dangers all fall under this section. Despite the laws and precautions in place, construction workers in New York still face a significant number of injuries and fatalities due to construction site accidents. When a construction accident is directly related to negligence on a construction site, the responsible party must be held accountable.

The Most Common Types of Construction Accidents

At Talisman & DeLorenz, your New York Construction lawyers have helped numerous individuals that have been injured in construction and scaffolding accidents. Some of those types of construction accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead exposure;
  • Respiratory diseases;
  • Slacking off on maintaining safety precautions
  • No safety oversight on the construction site
  • Accidents involving heavy machinery and equipment
  • Accidents involving power tools
  • Workers who use tools and machinery improperly
  • Crane, hoist and scaffolding accidents
  • Falls from ladders
  • Improper storage or use of hazardous chemicals
  • Workers exposed to toxic materials
  • Slip and falls on the construction site
  • Explosions at the construction site
  • Workers hit by a falling object
  • Accidents which occur during welding
  • Electrical accidents

Contact Talisman & DeLorenz, P.C., Your New York Construction Accident Attorneys

If you or someone you love has been injured in a construction accident in New York, you need an experienced personal injury law firm on your side from the very start. At Talisman & DeLorenz, your New York construction attorneys have over 50 years of extensive experience representing injured construction workers and their families. Call us Talisman & DeLorenz, P.C. Members of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, today at 1-212-422-9000 for a free consultation and review of your case or fill out our confidential online contact form. You deserve a strong legal advocate in your corner who will look out for your rights and your future.