Mar 08, 2023

New York Labor Law Section 241(6) Protects Construction Workers

For anyone working on construction sites, knowing how the law protects you is important. Construction sites are, by their very nature, dangerous. Workers are constantly exposed to dangerous working conditions, including defective power tools, fall hazards, insufficient safety devices, falling objects, and electrical hazards. When a worker gets injured and cannot work, New York’s Labor Law Section 241(6) provides a means of recovery for individuals injured at construction sites beyond the relatively low compensation available through Workers’ Compensation Law, which often does not provide sufficient funds to support the injured employee. 

Labor Law Section 241(6) provides that when a person who is lawfully at a construction site is injured due to a violation of New York’s Industrial Code, the building owner and general contractor can be responsible for the injury. The law developed as a way for the State of New York to protect construction workers from hazardous work conditions. Without this protection, construction workers would be at the mercy of their employer, the general contractor or the building owner. If a worker were provided with inadequate equipment or exposed to a dangerous workplace, the worker generally would not have the authority or financial security to insist on safer working conditions. Before these provisions of New York’s Labor Law were enacted, when those workers were injured, they often ended up relying on public assistance because they could no longer work.  Section 241(6) of the Labor Law was designed to shift the cost of covering injured workers away from the State of New York and instead to the parties most able to control working conditions and pay for workers’ injuries – the building owner and general contractor. 

Trief & Olk handles a wide variety of construction accident cases, from defective power saws, to nail gun cases, to falls from ladders and scaffolds. One of the more unusual cases involved a construction executive who suffered an electric shock at a construction site because of a dangerously installed wire. Trief & Olk won its Labor Law Section 241(6) claim against the building owner without the need for a trial by presenting evidence that, as a matter of law, a specific section of the Industrial Code concerning electrical hazards, Industrial Code 23-1.13, had been violated. Defendant then attempted to deny that plaintiff suffered an electric shock, but plaintiff presented ample evidence to refute that theory, including opinions from the defendant’s own medical experts, five of whom wrote in their reports that the plaintiff suffered an electric shock or had objective symptoms consistent with electric shock.

If you are a construction worker or a person who was lawfully at a construction site and suffered an accident, Trief & Olk is available to answer your questions. Feel free to leave us a submission via our website or call us directly to discuss how we may help you.

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