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NYC construction fatality highlights critical Scaffold Law

Photo of Harlan Thompson

Contributing to the troubling rise in New York construction fatalities in recent years, another worker has lost his life on a worksite this month. According to an article in the New York Daily News, a 62-year-old surveyor fell 10 stories to his death after a wooden platform gave way underneath him.

Government agencies are still investigating the accident, and a violation has been issued to the contractor for failing to secure the platform. This accident illustrates the importance of New York’s Scaffold Law, an essential safety measure that has long been under attack by insurers and business interests.

Why the Scaffold Law is important

Each skyscraper that forms part of New York’s iconic skyline is the result of extensive planning and labor. Construction workers brave dizzying heights every day to build the greatest city in the world – and too many of them have been injured or killed in the process.

If an accident victim survives a workplace fall, they typically have substantial medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and other expenses beyond what workers’ compensation will cover. If the accident is fatal, the victim’s family is left with funeral expenses and other losses without their regular source of income.

To help those victims and their families, New York has unique labor laws. Labor Law 240, commonly called the Scaffold Law, allows injured workers and their families to pursue civil claims against employers whose negligence contributed to scaffold falls.

As details about this incident surface, it may become evident who was responsible for the accident. No matter what the result, we believe it is vital to prioritize worksite safety and make New York a safer workplace.

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