Throughout New York City, it’s common to see buildings covered in skeletal frames of metal bars and wooden planks. This is due in part to the current construction boom as well as the city’s Scaffold Safety Law. The law was enacted in an effort to protect construction workers who must perform work at heights and outlines several requirements with regard to when scaffolds must be used and how they must be constructed and maintained.

Under the Scaffold Law, if a construction worker who is working atop scaffolding is injured, construction employers and contractors assume absolute liability. In recent years, the law has been the subject of much controversy with construction employers and insurance companies arguing that the law’s absolute liability requirement is unfair, costly and fails to take into account whether or not a worker’s actions or failures may have contributed to an accident.

While insurance and construction companies have been vocal about calling for reforms to the Scaffold Law, proponents of the law argue that its harsh provisions help both encourage employers and contractors to comply with the law’s safety provisions as well as provide much-needed financial assistance to injured construction workers.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, during 2014 alone, falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of fatalities within the construction industry. While fall-related accidents and injuries can be reduced through the proper use of safety equipment including fall prevention gear, due to the significant number of New York City construction projects that require the use of scaffolding, it’s important that the city’s Scaffold Law remains strong and intact.

Construction workers, who have been injured while working atop scaffolding or while working in some other capacity at a construction work site, can benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney. At attorney will fight for a worker’s rights and work to win compensation to account for financial burdens related to medical bills, lost wages and disability.

Source: New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, “The Scaffold Safety Law,” Jan. 4, 2015, “Scaffold Law,” Jan. 4, 2015