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Key Construction Laws in New York Protect Injured Workers

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Peter J. Gregory
May 19, 2023
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Construction work has historically been one of the most dangerous professions, as when dealing with heavy tools and machinery there is a high chance of accidents potentially causing serious or life-threatening injuries. Some of New York’s Labor Laws put liability on those supervising the construction in order to hold them accountable for maintaining a safe work environment. Here is what you need to know about the key Labor Laws protecting injured construction workers in New York State:

Section 200 of New York’s Labor Laws imposes a duty on employers to maintain safe working environments through the required “reasonable and adequate protection” of all employees. This applies not only to the workplace and environment but also to all machinery and tools that are used. In interpreting this law, courts have ruled that this standard only applies to parties or employers that exercise authority (supervision and control) over the work that is being done. The way this law has developed allows employees who are injured to file lawsuits against employers who had direct control over the work environment and situation that led to their injuries.

Section 240(1) New York’s Labor Laws (also known as the “Scaffolding Law”) imposes a strict and absolute liability on all contractors and owners and their agents in the erection, demolition, repairing, or altering of a building or structure to furnish or erect for the performance of such work, scaffolding, stays, braces, and other devices, which are constructed, placed, operated, and maintained so as to give proper protection to the person performing such work. The reasoning behind this statue is to protect employees against the heightened dangers and risks that come with elevation and heavy tools and materials on a construction site. The statute was designed to ensure employers took all safety precautions in order to fully shield their employees from the inherent danger that comes with the job.

Section 241(6) of New York’s Labor Laws imposes a strict and absolute liability on all contractors and owners and their agents, when constructing buildings, to construct, shore, equip, guard, arrange, operate and conduct all areas in which construction work is being performed such that persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places are provided reasonable and adequate protection and safety. Similarly to section 200, this law imposes the same legal duty on employers to provide “reasonable and adequate protection” to their employees. In the case of Bland v. Manocherian, the court found that New York State, the building owner, and contractor were liable for injuries sustained by workers on ladders, as law imposed absolute liability on party for failing to provide safety devices necessary to give proper protection to worker who sustained injuries.

If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury in a construction site accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help. It is important to consult with a lawyer early to investigate your options and preserve crucial evidence.  For assistance with these matters, please contact us to learn more.

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About the author: Peter J. Gregory is a partner with MCCM Personal Injury Lawyers in Rochester, NY.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. As a personal injury lawyer, Gregory focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at or (585) 512-3506.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.