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Strict liability is a key factor in construction accidents

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Construction Accidents

Many people believe New York labor laws are biased against contractors or building owners on construction sites. Those who think so often refer to ”The Scaffold Law,” which was enacted in the 1800s. You may have also heard this law referred to as the ”strict liability” law.

Construction laws are complex. However, the Scaffold Law basically states that adequate safety devices must be provided to workers when they are working at high elevations on a construction site. The law places strict liability against contractors and building owners. If you are a construction worker, this law protects you if your employer or a building owner fails in their obligation to keep you safe on the job.

Working on scaffolding can be dangerous 

As a construction worker, you understand that the industry you work in is high-risk for injuries. This risk is particularly high for workers who must carry out their duties at high elevations on scaffolding. The strict liability laws that are in place, however, include detailed instructions regarding the type of safety equipment that must be provided in specific circumstances. 

For instance, if you are working at an elevation on a scaffold that is at least 20 feet above ground, there must be a safety rail installed. The safety device must be made of a certain material and must also be a height that complies with the Scaffold Law instructions.

It can be challenging to determine if strict liability exists in a particular case 

Not every task you might have carried out on a scaffold would be covered under strict liability rules. Also, in some cases, a worker might be solely responsible for his or her own injuries. If you suffer injuries at work on a construction site, and more specifically, while working on a scaffold, you must determine whether your injuries were the result of a risk listed in the Scaffold Law.

The weight of the scaffold you were on when an accident occurred might also be relevant to your case. There are rules regarding how much a scaffold must weigh in order to bear weight during construction work. If you suffer injuries on a scaffold that did not meet weight standards, strict liability rules may apply. If you’re unsure whether the Scaffold Law is relevant to an accident that resulted in your injuries, it is best to consult with someone who is well-versed in New York labor laws.