New York has strict laws in place that require property owners and contractors to provide safe environments for workers and visitors at construction sites. However, the enforcement of these laws depends in large measure on people coming forward to report suspected violations to the appropriate authorities.

Worksite safety is governed principally by these provisions of the New York Labor Law:

  • Section 200 — This general law requires property owners and contractors to provide a reasonably safe worksite for all workers and other people legally on the premises. The contractors working at the site and their agents are expected to maintain and operate all machinery and other equipment on the worksite safely.
  • Section 240(1) — The “scaffolding law,” as it is known, protects workers from catastrophic injuries because of falls from heights or due to falling objects, such as tools and building materials. This section obligates property owners and contractors on building construction sites to provide scaffolding, ladders, hoists and other equipment that is in good working order and properly maintained. Given the inherent dangers of a construction site, there may be a need for an owner or contractor to install fencing, safety rails and/or netting to protect workers and passersby.
  • Section 241 — This law requires site owners and contractors to oversee the safe and proper construction or demolition activity in order to prevent injuries to workers from physical obstructions, water hazards and chemicals or hazardous materials that might be on the worksite.

If you are employed on a construction site and you observe an unsafe condition, you should take immediate action. Report the condition to your supervisor or to the site safety manager if the site has one. If you are a member of a union, make a report to your union rep.

If you have reported the unsafe condition but it has not been corrected, you can report it to the Department of Buildings of the municipality where the construction project is located.

Putting site owners and contractors on notice about unsafe conditions can affect liability for injuries when accidents occur. Failure to follow the Labor Law sections listed above can expose the violator to personal injury suits. If you or a loved one is hurt in such an accident, it is possible to recover more than workers’ compensation’s reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages. This can include damages for the injured worker’s pain and suffering.

The Licatesi Law Group, LLP helps win financial recoveries for victims and families of victims of construction site accidents. Arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced New York attorneys by calling us at (516)-227-2662 or contact us online at our Uniondale or Brooklyn office.