New York has several laws designed to protect construction workers in this state. One of them is Section 240(1) of the Labor Law, and it is sometimes known as the “Scaffold Law.” This law is intended to protect workers from the risks associated with falls from significant height differentials. What size must a height differential be in order to entitle a worker to seek compensation? The answer is that it depends. In some cases, if an object is heavy enough, even very short distance falls can be enough to permit an injured worker to win his case. This variability is just a reminder that each case is unique, so, if you’ve been hurt at your construction job, make sure you retain an experienced New York construction accident attorney, who can help you determine how to pursue your rights under the law.
As an example of a short-distance case, an appeals court in 2015 allowed a worker to pursue compensation in a construction injury case in which the object that fell on him fell only 2½-3 feet. In that case, the pile of rails that hit the worker weighed roughly 1,500 pounds, so that meant that the rails could generate a substantial amount of force, even over a short distance.
That same principle came up in a very recent case, and it again allowed the injured worker to succeed. Omar and three co-workers were trying to transport a 500-pound steel I-beam from the top floor of an 18-story Manhattan building to the ground level. The relative size of the 12-foot beam and the small elevator forced the men to try to stand the beam on its end. During that process, the beam fell roughly half a foot onto Omar’s shoulder, injuring him.