For some people, a unique New York labor law geared toward protecting workers and, essentially, serving as insurance, remains a bit of a head-scratcher. Certain sections of a state labor law — dubbed as the “Scaffold Law” – hold building owners and contractors absolutely liable for workers’ gravity-related injuries. These are injuries related to falls as well as when an object strikes you in situations involving construction, repair and demolition work.
Whether a worker’s negligence served as a contributing factor in the accident is irrelevant. The law, which has been on the books for more than 100 years, has caused an enormous amount of debate and some controversy. Once again, recent rumblings from the law’s critics have led to a discussion of revisiting, changing and reforming the law, but so far these groups have not been successful.
Addressing liability issues in falls
Employers and property owners consistently complain about the law, claiming it is archaic as well as requiring them to purchase overly expensive liability insurance. But the law is in place to protect workers in the construction industry.
Sometimes referred to as the “Gravity Law,” the Scaffold Law focuses on the risks related to work-related falls as well as falling objects. The law protects workers in gravity-related accidents that include falling from heights and being struck by falling objects that were improperly secured.
If injured in a gravity-related accident at a construction site, do not allow your employer or any property owner to push you around. The law protects you.