Construction site accidents are unfortunately far too common for many reasons, including the failure to provide workers with a safe work environment or proper safety equipment. Property owners, employers and general contractors must provide a safe place to work to those such as roofers, welders, plumbers, carpenters or laborers at the construction site. While the rule in New York is that employees cannot sue their employers for injuries sustained on the job, the New York Labor Law, and specifically sections 200, 240, and 241(6) provide statutory protections to workers injured on a construction site.

Recently an appellate court addressed a claim brought by a steamfitter who was injured when he was installing a 250 pound pipe. While placing one end into a hanger, the other end broke loose from its hanger causing the pipe to strike the steamfitter in the head and knock him off the ladder. The court concluded that the property owners were responsible for the worker’s injuries because he established that his injuries were caused by a falling object and a fall from an elevation due to inadequate safety devices. Rzymski v. Metropolitan Tower Life Ins. Co.: AD3d (1st Dept. 4/24/12).

On the contrary, an appellate court recently determined that a worker did not have a valid claim where he lost his footing on a scaffold platform and injured his back while reaching forward to grab a pipe that had slipped from his hands. Because the scaffold did not shake or move and there was no debris on the platform the court determined that the worker’s injuries were not the result of an elevation-related risk requiring safety devices to protect against the dangers of gravity, nor was there any industrial code violation nor any unsafe condition. Winters v. Main, LLC: AD3d (1st Dept. 6/5/12).

The labor law is a complex area and the facts of each case must be closely analyzed to determine if a successful claim lies and under what section of the labor law. At LaMarche Safranko Law we represent injured workers and guide them through the legal process.