Construction workers have to watch for many hazards when they are on the job. Some of these can cause minor injuries, but others can lead to more serious -- and even fatal -- injuries. On average, more than 14 people die each day at work. Some of those fatalities are in the construction industry.
Construction zones have many hazards that just come with the duties of the job. This doesn't mean that workers should just suck up the danger and take chances with each shift. We know that no construction worker goes to work with the hope of being injured while they are there. They usually take all the necessary steps to do their jobs safely, but things might still happen. Some of these might be due to defective equipment or safety rules that are too lax.
If you work in the construction injury, you're well aware that the fast paced environment will keep you on your toes at all times. Unfortunately, construction site accidents remain common.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released an updated directive related to workers performing construction work on communication towers. The new directive expands the responsibilities of contractors using hoists to lift personnel up the towers in an effort to improve construction worker safety. The new directive comes after a sharp increase in communication tower worker fatalities. In 2013 alone, there were twice as many communication tower fatalities as there were in the previous two years combined, and 2014 is on pace to match that number. The new directive is also interesting in relation to the ongoing debate about New York's "Scaffold Law," a law that makes contractors liable for worker injuries suffered during elevated work.
Workers' compensation and civil lawsuits are both legal protections put in place to help protect employees in the event they are injured on the job. However, the two function very differently. They work through different processes and often lead to different payouts. Additionally, most people are only eligible for one or the other. These distinctions are particularly important to construction workers because the types of construction accidents, along with their frequency that they experience on the job, can often make them eligible for one of these remedies.
A federal court for the Northern District of New York recently issued an opinion making it more difficult for construction workers performing elevated work to recover for injuries they suffer as a result of construction accidents. The case in question, Diaz v. GLOBALFOUNDRIES U.S., involved the court trying to interpret New York Labor Law § 240(1). That portion of the code holds contractors and property owners liable for injuries that workers suffer on the job because the owner or contractor failed to set up necessary safety equipment related to elevated work, like scaffolds, pulleys, hoists, or ladders. The judge in Diaz interpreted an older piece of law known as the "Runnerdoctrine," to require that a plaintiff either be injured in a fall or by a falling object to recover under this section of the code.
One of the most heavily discussed political issues of the day is how to handle the influx of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. The contentious nature of this political issue can lead to a great deal of uncertainty with regard to how enforcement of immigration is carried out, something that seems to change almost day by day. This can be of particular concern to workers who suffer construction site injuries because that field attracts large amounts of undocumented immigrants.
It is common to assume that legal liability in construction site accidents involve only the injured party and the involved construction company. However, depending on the specifics of the accident and the exact location of the construction work, many other individuals and interests may be implicated.
Construction sites can be hazardous to workers on the job, but they can also pose dangers to people in the immediate area of construction. A recent Manhattan construction accident highlights the potential for serious and catastrophic injury.
We have all seen images in television and movies of lawyers objecting to something happening in court. Indeed, we all recognize that a major part of any trial is determining what evidence may or may not be offered against a defendant, with each attorney arguing vigorously for their position. These procedural arguments are quite common in many New York City accident cases, including those stemming from motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and similar incidents.