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Falls Through Hazardous Openings On New York Construction Sites

In New York, especially New York City, falls through hazardous openings continue to account for a high percentage of serious personal injuries on construction sites. Fortunately for construction workers, New York’s Labor Laws allow construction workers in New York to sue the general contractor and building owner if they do not provide a reasonable safe site or if they don’t provide proper protection to construction workers who are working at an elevated work site. Construction workers who are injured because of a hazardous opening need the aggressive representation that our New York construction accident lawyers provide.

There are three different Labor Laws, which are intended to prevent New York’s construction workers from becoming injured from a fall on a construction site in New York and allow New York’s construction workers to sue when these safety laws are violated. Labor Law 240 also called the Ladder Law or Scaffold Law requires contractors and owners to provide scaffolding, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices to give proper protection to construction workers from risks arising from construction work site elevation. If a landowner or a contractor on a construction site fails to provide fall protection to workers at elevated sites with openings, the construction worker was injured because of a violation of Labor Law 240. Likewise, Labor Law 241 is violated when a New York construction worker is not provided with proper protection and there is a violation of the New York Industrial Code. Several New York Industrial Code regulations protect construction workers from hazardous openings. For example Industrial Code § 1.7(b)(1) requires that every hazardous opening into which a person may step or fall shall be guarded by a substantial cover fastened in place or by a safety railing. That access to the area is necessary is no defense because the regulations also requires that where free access into such an opening is required by work in progress, a barrier or safety railing must guard the opening and the means of free access to the opening shall be a substantial gate and the gate must swing in a direction away from the opening and shall be kept latched except for entry and exit. The Courts have defined a “hazardous opening” generally to mean “an opening large enough for a person to fit into.

Often in large New York City projects, there are large holes that construction workers must work around. In these circumstances, the regulation requires that where employees are required to work close to the edge of such an opening such employees shall be protected as follows: Two-inch planking, full size, or material of equivalent strength installed not more than one floor or 15 feet, whichever is less, beneath the opening; or an approved life net installed not more than five feet beneath the opening; or an approved safety belt with attached lifeline which is properly secured to a substantial fixed anchorage.

Our New York City construction accident lawyers have successfully represented injured construction workers from all of the New York City boroughs including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. From our Westchester office, our construction injury attorneys have represented construction accident victims from Yonkers, White Plains, Ossining, Mamaroneck, Mt. Vernon, Mt. Kisco, New Rochelle, Armonk, Greenburgh, Port Chester, Rye , Scarsdale, Bronxville, Dobbs Ferry, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, Tarrytown and Pelham.

Our New York and White Plains construction accident lawyers always provide free consultations to injured construction workers. If you are badly injured, we will come to you.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph