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Property Owner and General Contractor Responsibility for Gravity Related Injury

Over a century ago, in 1885, the New York Legislators enacted the first scaffold law in response to concerns over unsafe conditions for employees who worked at heights. This came as a reaction to the widespread accounts of deaths and injuries on construction sites due to gravity related injuries. The law has since evolved adapting to new industry standards and judicial interpretation of these laws.

Labor Law § 240 (1) requires: “ All contractors and owners and their agents,…, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.” Although the statute’s language might appear complicated, the aim is quite clear. It is the responsibility of the employer and contractor to provide and comply with safety standards in order to protect those working at heights. Section 240 (1) of the Labor Law places the responsibility directly on the parties responsible for the job site’s safety and creates a presumption of employer’s liability when a scaffold or ladder collapses or a construction worker falls from a height. The law also holds contractors and property owners responsible when a worker is injured by an object that falls on a construction site striking that person.

Hach & Rose, LLP, are dedicated to vigorously protecting the rights and interests of those who have been hurt on construction sites due to the negligence or recklessness of another party. With over 100 years of combined litigation experience, we are prepared to handle a broad variety of cases and to fight aggressively for the compensation that our clients are due. Contact Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation.

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