As a major metropolitan state, New York has several laws specifically designed to protect construction workers. One such protection is its “scaffolding law,” also known as New York Labor Law 240. This law is designed specifically for workers who deal with scaffolding, a dangerous job at the best of times.
What Is This Law?
There is a long history of construction workers risking their lives on scaffolding. A quick Google search will reveal a time when workers were expected to walk across scaffolding at great heights with little to no protection. Injuries and even deaths were common. Eventually, as the world modernized, it became clear that this way was unacceptable, and New York Labor Law 240 was passed.
Specifically, the law demands protections regarding scaffolding. This includes workers both on and under the beams, as dangers can rain down from above. It mandates reasonable safety precautions for workers. Safety equipment must be employed to mitigate falling from people or objects. There must be pulleys, ropes, harnesses, slings, ladders, hoists, and so forth. Everything must be used in a controlled, safe manner.
What If Employers Break This Law?
Ultimately, disobeying the scaffolding law is illegal in New York. If an employer disregards a scaffolding worker’s safety, they could face criminal charges. They could go to jail or even prison, depending on the severity of their negligence.
Scaffolding law also opens employers up to lawsuits. It is possible to file a lawsuit against someone, even if they have been criminally convicted of the same behavior. Criminal justice satisfies society, and it keeps companies under control. However, seeing an employer arrested may not help if you were injured. You could have mounting medical bills, and your recovery may force you to miss work, further impacting your finances. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you could have your bills, missed work, and pain and suffering financially compensated.
What If I’m Hurt by an Employer’s Negligence?
If you are hurt at work, your first resource is workers’ compensation. It can provide you the benefits you need to pay your bills while you properly recover. However, remember that it can be used to shield your employer from liability. If the company ignores Labor Law 240, causing you injury, talk to a lawyer before filing for worker’s comp. Ask them to overlook your agreement and make sure that you are still able to hold your employer accountable.
Remember, by ignoring scaffolding law, your employer did something illegal. Moreover, their negligence caused you harm. You may be entitled to far more than what you would normally receive in workers’ comp. Work closely with your attorney, and see if filing a personal injury lawsuit is the better option.
If you’ve been harmed by a negligent construction employer, reach out to our office today. We are ready to help you seek the benefits you deserve. For a free consultation, call (607) 228-8404, or fill out an online contact form.