It is rare when a law works so well to serve the interests of working men and women rather than big corporations. In the case of the New York Scaffold Law, the blame is put squarely where it belongs- on owners and general contractors whose work sites often pose murderous hazards from above to the workers who show up every day.
The New York Scaffold Law is a classic worker protection law; in this case, it is designed to protect workers engaged in construction work involving height-related dangers. The law wisely mandates the use of proper and adequate protective equipment and requires that the responsibility for the provision and use of the equipment be borne, not by the site workers, but by the owner and general contractor. New York’s Highest Court, The Court of Appeals, has said that the purpose of the law “is to compel contractors and owners to comply…” with its provisions, with the ultimate goal being a safe workplace.
In looking to the law, an important question is whether the worker, engaging in his duties, was exposed to dangers posed by gravity, such as being struck by a falling object or falling from a height. It is absolutely mandated that in the usual setting of work involving erection or demolition, the owner or general contractor provide proper and adequate scaffolding, hoists, or ladders. If the owner/contractor violated the law, and in so doing, was a substantial factor in causing the worker’s injuries, the worker may recover money damages. From Long Island Movers to construction workers on NYC skyscrapers, the New York Scaffold Law is designed to protect workers.
It is crucial that an injured worker seek help from an experienced New York Scaffold Law attorney. The court’s interpretation of the law changes regularly, challenging even the most experienced lawyers to keep up and adapt. Experience also matters when it comes time to prove damages in court, as the medicine involved is often complex.