By: John A. Blyth
On February 20, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals – New York State’s highest court – issued a decision discussing key components of New York Labor Law § 241(6). Specifically, the court was asked to interpret whether an injury caused by the “back wall panel” of a concrete “form” was covered under Labor Law § 241(6). this ruling resulted in additional legal protections for carpenters and concrete workers.
In that case, the Plaintiff, Mr. Morris, was a carpenter working at a building construction site in Manhattan. Mr. Morris was injured when a large, flat object fell on his hand. The object that fell was a concrete form’s back wall panel component. A concrete form is a mold used to shape and solidify concrete. The Court decided that even though the back wall panel comprises only one side of an unfinished form, Labor Law § 241(6) can sensibly be applied to other than a completed form, including a single back wall component.
The intent of Labor Law § 241(6)
The intent of Labor Law § 241(6) is to ensure the safety of those working in all construction, excavation, and demolition areas. The statute mandates compliance with the Commissioner of Labor’s rules, including any nondelegable duty imposed on owners and contractors set forth in those rules. In Mr. Morris’ case, the Court found such nondelegable duty in the mandate outlined in 12 NYCRR 23-2.2 (a), which states that “forms” be “braced or tied together to maintain position and shape”, must be applied to the initial phase of assembling the forms, as well as the subsequent pouring stage.
Concrete is widely used for making foundations, walls, pavements, bridges, highways, and poles. Concrete is used in large quantities almost everywhere there is a need for infrastructure. The amount of concrete used worldwide, ton for ton, is twice that of steel, wood, plastics, and aluminum combined.
Concrete work is an extremely dangerous activity. In addition to injuries caused by blow-outs and collapses during the pouring phase, the assembly of heavy concrete forms is often just as hazardous. For these reasons, we consider this decision a major victory for worker safety. The Court’s decision has resulted in increased protections for workers during the assembly of concrete forms, not just during the pouring phase.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers
It takes a skilled attorney to know the legal protections for carpenters and concrete and to decipher the complex language of Labor Law § 241(6). It also takes an experienced attorney to determine whether the law applies to a particular accident. If you have suffered an injury on the job, whether while working with concrete or performing a different activity, we invite you to contact the experienced construction accident injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP.