Worker Killed by Falling Wall At Fire-Ravaged LES Synagogue: FDNY
Our New York construction accident attorney helps injured construction workers recover compensation under New York Labor Law 241(6) when the property owner or contractor violates specific rules and regulations designed to prevent construction accidents in New York.
The three main laws holding property owners and contractors liable for construction accidents are New York Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6). Each statute has its own rules and procedures, so it is important to find an attorney experienced in New York construction accident law who can determine the appropriate section of the law or legal theory to ensure success with your construction accident personal injury claim.
Section 241(6) Explained
New York Labor Law Section 241(6) states:
‘All areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.’
The section continues:
The commissioner may make rules to carry into effect the provisions of this subdivision, and the owners and contractors and their agents for such work, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, shall comply therewith.
Under this law the contractor and property owner are liable for an accident that occurred under the contractor’s or owner’s control or supervision because of a violation of the rules and regulations in the New York Industrial Code. In other words if a construction worker was killed or suffered personal injuries because of a violation of one of the regulations in the New York Industrial Code, then the General Contractor and Property owner are responsible and can be sued for pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
The last couple of months have proven how dangerous construction work in New York can be. On October 21, 2019, one construction worker was killed, and another seriously injured after a wall fell on them at a Lower East Side synagogue. The Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue was vacant for more than a decade before the 2017 fire, which was investigated as possible arson at the time, though a teen accused of sparking the blaze was ultimately not charged in court. The site had become a flashpoint for safety concerns at the dilapidated building. The lot sits nearby a slew of rising towers amid the Essex Crossing development. The remaining synagogue, which was a city landmark, itself expected to be replaced with a two-tower project of hundreds of apartments, some earmarked as below market rate and senior housing. The project is currently winding its way through the city's review process.
NY State Labor Law 241 is a law requires that all places in which construction is being conducted be operated so as to provide for the safety of the workers. In particular, both when structures are being erected and demolished, the Industrial Code requires proper shoring and bracing to prevent walls from collapsing or falling. This law applies to any area where there is excavation, demolition, or construction taking place. The rules made by the commissioner are located in the Industrial Code, and they are quite extensive. They can be found in Part 23 of Title 12 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) and include sections on construction, demolition, excavation, scaffolding, hoists, cranes, power-operated equipment, exhaust gases, and use of explosives. These rules cover everything from chutes and ladders to pile drivers and power buggies, and they get very specific. For instance, 23-5.16 states that “the elevation of working platforms of trestle and extension trestle ladder scaffolds shall not exceed 20 feet above the ground, grade, floor or equivalent surface.” It is just this sort of concrete, specific rule that, if violated, results in liability of the contractor or owner for injuries caused by a scaffold collapse, fall or other scaffolding accident. However, it does not specifically refer to falls or equipment used. If elevators are being used, they must be enclosed, at least on two sides if being used to hoist materials. If floors are not made of iron, fireproof materials must be used in their construction. Floors and walking space must be kept clear to prevent slipping and tripping, and drowning. This law applies to any area where there is excavation, demolition, or construction taking place. Construction workers are covered by workers compensation or insurance provided by their employer if an accident happens. Employers are further required to provide for safe conditions outlined by NY State Labor laws. If the employer does not comply, an injured worker may be eligible for further compensation.
Our Manhattan Construction accident lawyers have experience representing victims of construction accidents and other personal injuries and has successfully recovered compensation for workers injured on the job. Our Westchester Construction accident lawyers firmly believe that every worker who leaves for the job site in the morning deserves to come home safely at night. Our Construction accident lawyers have offices in midtown Manhattan and in White Plains in Westchester County and have represented injured construction workers all over the State of New York.