A ‘Makeshift Scaffold’ Leads to Another Construction Worker Death in the New York City Area

Tragically, another month has brought yet more news of a fatal construction accident in New York. This time, the location was a construction site on Long Island. Again, the accident involved workers hurt because they didn’t receive the proper equipment they needed to do their job safely. These accidents are happening far too often here. When they do and you are injured as a result, be sure to reach out without delay to an experienced New York City construction injury attorney to learn more about the options the law gives you.

In the Long Island accident, a crew was working on the construction of a new home in Freeport and was standing on what news reports described as “makeshift scaffolding” as they worked on the third floor. The makeshift scaffold appeared to be two-by-four planks placed atop wooden beams, according to the report.

Reportedly, the makeshift device failed and the two workers on the scaffold platform fell to the ground 25 feet below. One of the two workers, a 17-year-old from Hempstead, suffered a fractured skull and later died from his injuries.

Although the project had proper building permits for the construction, there was no permit for the scaffold the workers were using. Freeport “building inspectors at the scene issued several violations, including citations for unsafe conditions,” another news report stated.

The massive toll (in lives lost) that is the result of construction falls

Federal statistics compiled by OSHA show that falls consistently represent the leading cause of private-sector construction worker deaths (excluding highway crashes.) In fact, falls cause 39% of all such deaths. The second, third and fourth most common causes of construction worker deaths account for only 20% of fatalities combined.

Clearly, falls are a major problem. As a result, New York has specific laws that try to ensure that construction workers receive a safe workplace where they are properly protected from injuries that are the result of falls. One of these is Section 240(1) of the Labor Law and is sometimes nicknamed the Scaffold Law. It says that a construction site owner and the general contractor on the project have legal obligations to provide all workers with proper fall protection (as well as proper safeguards against falling objects.) These legal obligations are things that the owner and the general contractor cannot delegate to others in order to avoid responsibility.

Another law that can benefit a worker injured in a fall is Section 241(6) of the Labor Law. That law requires all construction sites comply with New York’s safety regulations. If your fall, for example, occurred because someone left construction equipment or debris in an unsafe place and you tripped on it, then that may be a violation of the safety regulations and you may have a claim for damages under this law.

In order words, there are multiple laws that may serve to protect construction workers injured in falls. Obviously, the ideal thing is for those in charge to do a better job giving all workers safe workplaces. However, when they don’t, the law and skillful New York attorneys will be here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

If were injured at your construction job because you were given unsafe equipment or inadequate safety protections, you may be entitled to compensation for the damage you suffered. Reach out to the knowledgeable New York City construction injury attorneys at Arcia & Associates for the legal representation you need. Our team has many years of handling construction injury cases and helping injured workers before during, and after trial.

Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.

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