Owners, Developers and Contractors Lobby Albany Legislators to Weaken Laws Requiring Proper Use and Maintenance of Scaffolding Equipment on Job Sites
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), Latino men and women account for the fastest growing segment of the New York construction labor force. As it currently stands, Labor Law Sec. 240 protects workers by placing the onus of responsibility squarely on the shoulders of building owners and general contractors for insuring that workers are equipped with proper scaffolds, hoists, harnesses and other safety gear when working at dangerous heights.
In spite of the known dangers, powerful lobbying efforts are underway in Albany to change these laws by effectively shifting responsibility for scaffolding safety to workers. Enactment of pending legislation would result in more accidents and injuries; and the lion's share of those injuries would disproportionately affect Latinos who, according to the USBLS, currently hold 17.4% of construction jobs nationally, up from 10.2% in 1993.
According to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, it is the immigrant construction workers – many of them day laborers, virtually all of whom are Latino or Asian – who take on the most dangerous jobs at the least safe construction sites and who are getting injured the most. Notably, seven of the 25 workers who were killed in accidents at New York City construction sites between October 2001 and September 2003 were classified as day laborers.
Raphaelson, who with his partner Andrew Levine made a trip up to Albany to lobby against changing the law, said workers who speak little or no English, and who may be in the country illegally, are in no position to complain to their employer, a labor union or to the government about worksite safety lapses. "If the Scaffold Law is eviscerated," he added, "one of the few remaining protections would be gone."
If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident, the only recourse for you, or a family member, to get the compensation you deserve is to hire a top accident lawyer to pursue a construction accident lawsuit. While it is also true that laws in New York State prohibit employees from suing their employers for on-the-job accidents, contractors, architects, manufacturers and property owners may be held liable for construction injuries or wrongful deaths that take place as a result of a scaffolding accident at the worksite.
If you've been injured in a scaffolding accident as a result of neglect by an owner, developer, contractor, or by some other on-site third-party vendor, please contact the New York scaffolding accident law firm of Raphaelson & Levine for a free consultation. By calling the telephone number listed above, or by filling out the "Legal Assistance" form on our website, you can speak with one of our experienced New York construction accident lawyers immediately.