Whether you’re a construction worker, an OSHA investigator, or a New York City construction accident attorney, you will, if you remain in the industry long enough, unfortunately begin to see certain patterns that emerge and certain factual issues that come up over and over. For example, one of the most common causes of fatal construction accident is falls. In many of those fatal fall accidents, the worker either wasn’t wearing a harness or other fall protection or did not have his/her harness tied off properly.
Despite the frequency of these accidents, they continue to occur over and over. Too many times, that’s because those in charge at the site are more worried about time and money than they are worker safety, leading them to cut corners on essential safety needs – like fall protection.
The news articles are numerous. In October, localsyr.com reported on a Utica man who died when he fell off the roof of a four-story building. The worker was wearing neither a harness not any other form of fall protection, according to investigators. In May, the Daily News covered the near-fatal accident of a worker in Brooklyn. The worker, who suffered major head trauma after falling head-first into a shaft, wasn’t wearing a harness, police stated. In April, the Ithaca Voice reported on an OSHA fine handed out against a construction management company overseeing a hotel’s construction in downtown Ithaca. That fine came after a photo was published, drawing widespread shock and condemnation. The picture showed a hardhat working atop a scaffold several stories off the ground. The worker had neither a harness nor any other protection other than his hardhat.
This isn’t just a recently emerging problem, either. Back in the summer of 2018, a company was found criminally liable for manslaughter after a Manhattan worker plummeted 29 stories to his death. The Post reported that, according to prosecutors handling the criminal case, a foreman ordered workers to move a scaffold while J.C. was still on it. The platform jammed and J.C. tried to fix it. As he did, the scaffold shook violently, and J.C. plunged to his death. He had a harness, but he had to unhook it when he went to fix the jammed platform. In 2017, Patch reported a construction worker who fell to his death in Midtown Manhattan. That worker was wearing a harness but it “wasn’t connected to anything,” according to city officials.
How New York’s laws and legal system can help
Fortunately, New York has laws that address these types of circumstances. Section 240(1) of the Labor Law says that construction site owners and the general contractors on construction projects are required to make sure that all workers have the protection they need to safeguard them from harm from “elevation-related” risks, such as the risk of a fall.
When these kinds of accidents happen, they often create major damage to the worker’s family. Whether it is a fatal accident, an accident causing a permanent brain injury or an accident causing a major bodily injury, these incidents can leave families without their major – or perhaps their only – income earner. This may mean the families could have a pile of medical expenses and other bills they now have to pay without the primary or sole income source their family had.
That is where a successful civil lawsuit asserting a Section 240(1) claim can help. By winning this kind of lawsuit and holding those responsible legally liable, your family can get the compensation you need to pay those bills and provide for all the family’s members even after the loss of that member who was working construction.
If you have suffered injuries working at a construction site in New York — or have tragically lost a loved one — because those in charge at the site cut corners and didn’t provide the fall protection the job required, then you may be entitle to seek substantial compensation in court for your significant loss. Reach out to the experienced New York City construction accident attorneys at Arcia & Associates to find out more. Our attorneys have many years of handling construction injury and construction worker death cases and are ready to get started helping you.
Contact us at (718) 651-4363 to find out how we can help you.