What is Construction Accident Law?

Overview of Labor Laws 200, 240 & 241

The Labor laws in New York State gives special protection to workers injured in construction accidents, that include demolition, renovation, alteration, or repair of structures or buildings. When the labor law sections 200, 240, or 241, are violated, injured workers may be entitled to recover damages regardless of who was responsible for the accident.

  • Section 200 – Under this section, owners and contractors are required to take reasonable care to protect workers and provide safe workplaces. If a worker is injured due to an unsafe working condition, owners and contractors may be held responsible.
  • Section 240 – This is a statute that protects the rights of workers injured in high falls or after being struck by a falling object. It is also known as the scaffold law. If a worker gets injured due to a fall or after being struck by a falling object, this section of the law may hold general contractors, project owners, project managers, and building owners responsible for the accident.
  • Section 241 – This section of the Labor Law outlines specific actions that must be carried out on a job site, and specific equipment that must be provided to ensure safety. If accidents occur because of negligent actions or because proper equipment was not provided by those in-charge, injured workers may have a strong chance of recovering full damages after their injuries.

Labor Law 200: Common Law Negligence

According to Labor Code Section 200, “All places 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.”

Since this provision applies to construction sites, it is the responsibility of the construction industry to provide a reasonably safe environment for its employees as well as visitors on the worksite. This includes safeguarding machines, lighting the work environment and otherwise taking reasonable steps to make sure no employees or visitors are injured.

Labor Law 240: The Scaffold Law in New York

New York Labor Law 240, often called the “Scaffold Law” allows injured workers to seek compensation if the construction firm fails to provide protective equipment, or fails to ensure that workers on the site are actually using protective equipment. This law was essentially put in place to hold construction sites accountable for scaffolding injury cases. As per this law, owners of property where construction work takes place could also be held accountable, on the basis of specific facts.

Labor Law 241: Excavation, Demolition and Safety Equipment

Labor Law 241 concerns the safety of all construction workers. This law makes it a legal requirement for employers to provide safety equipment to all workers. While 240 is applied to those who need to work in elevated platforms to perform their work, 241 covers many other activities. This law outlines how a site must be constructed, equipped, arranged, and guarded, among other facets of running a construction site and team of workers. This is essentially an all-encompassing safety law for construction site management and the protection of workers.

If you have suffered injuries in a construction accident because your employer did not comply with any of these statutes, he/she may be responsible for your injuries. You may file a claim against your employer. Filing a claim will not affect any workers’ compensation benefits you are due, and both cases can proceed concurrently.