Fatality shines light on scaffold safety

Yet another construction-related fatality struck New York this month, adding momentum to a troubling surge of worker deaths in the past several years. According to the New York Daily News, a 62-year-old surveyor died after a long fall on a work site near the Hudson Yards on Monday, June 5.

The victim was actually working on a safety  project to prevent falls at the time of the accident. He fell through a wooden platform and plummeted about 10 stories, from the 16th floor to a 6th floor landing. Emergency responders pronounced him dead at the scene.

Who’s responsible for accidents involving scaffolding?

The city Buildings Department has issued a violation to the contractor for failing to ensure that the site was safe. A representative has said the company is cooperating with all agency investigations of the accident.

As we’ve discussed in an earlier post, New York has a unique legal landscape for construction accidents. Several state labor laws are in place to help injured construction workers and their families recover full and fair compensation from negligent employers.

Labor Law 240, commonly called the Scaffold Law, allows workers to pursue damages beyond what is available through workers’ compensation. Workers who are injured while working on scaffolding may be able to bring a civil claim for their injuries, lost wages or rehabilitation costs. Those who have lost loved ones in construction accidents may also be able to pursue compensation.