Construction work is one of America’s most dangerous occupations. From 2009 through 2011, one hundred and one construction workers were killed in New York.
There are laws which are meant to make construction work safer. Section 240 of the New York Labor Law, sometimes called “the Scaffold Law,” requires that property owners and general contractors in charge of construction sites provide proper safety equipment to workers. If a worker is injured due to a lack of proper safety equipment, he can sue the owner using the Scaffold Law as the basis for making his case. Because owners know they can be responsible to pay money damages to injured workers, there is an incentive for them to be sure that proper safety equipment is available and the job site is safe.
But now big real estate developers and builders want to take the teeth out of those laws, or eliminate them altogether. They claim that the Scaffold Law makes it too easy for an injured worker to sue and recover money damages. They are lobbying hard to severely limit or eliminate the rights of injured workers under the Scaffold Law. They have even made some false claims to try to get public opinion on their side. For example – they wrongly claim that no other state has a law like the Scaffold Law. Or that even if a worker is injured because he is drunk or on drugs, the owner will be liable under the Scaffold Law. That’s not true either. They say that OSHA inspections are sufficient to keep construction sites safe. But OSHA only has the resources to inspect one or two of the hundreds of construction sites in New York City each day.
Wealthy real estate developers want you to believe that the Scaffold Law causes their insurance costs to be so high that they can’t afford to construct new buildings in New York and construction jobs will be lost. Well, have you seen all of the new buildings being built in Manhattan and Brooklyn? And, the New York Building Congress projected a 13% increase in construction employment between 2012 and 2015.
Fortunately, construction workers have some friends and allies. With the help of a construction accident lawyer, NYC construction workers can improve their working conditions and fight for their rights. New York construction accident lawyers, like Carro, Carro & Mitchell, support the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, which is fighting for the rights of construction workers, and to preserve the Scaffold Law. Additionally, the not-for-profit Center For Public Democracy has been working to educate the public and State legislators about construction site dangers, their disparate effect on minority workers in particular, and the importance of preserving the Scaffold Law.
The attorneys of Carro, Carro & Mitchell have successfully represented hundreds of injured construction workers. In many cases, we have relied on the Scaffold Law to obtain multi-million dollars verdicts and settlements. The Scaffold Law provides protection to construction workers, and an incentive for builders and developers to make their worksites safe. In the interest of justice for injured construction workers, it must be preserved. To contact a construction accident lawyer, NYC area workers should call Carro, Carro & Mitchell at 212-213-5005.