New York has a proud legislative history of enacting new statutes for the protection of construction professionals beyond what federal law requires. For example, New York passed the Scaffolding Law holding building owners responsible for gravity-related injuries long before federal rules required workers’ compensation programs to protect employees from dangers on the job.
In recent years, lawmakers have had to revisit the risks related to construction work in New York, as it remains one of the local economy’s most dangerous professions. Thanks to the passage of Carlos’ Law, those who are directly affected by dangerous facilities and poor employment practices now have enhanced legal rights in New York.
What does Carlos’ law do?
The law takes its name from Carlos Moncayo, who was only 22 when he died in a preventable construction accident. Sadly, the employers who endangered him did not face any major consequences for his death, which inspired people to push for legal reform. The financial incentive to prioritize worker safety just wasn’t sufficient under existing state law.
These companies all too often view the cost involved in providing training and safety equipment as too expensive. The executives of such firms have been able to minimize their losses when a worker suffers severe injury or dies because of the state rules on criminal corporate liability. Even if the state brought charges against the company after an incident, the costs would often be low enough to allow companies to dismiss them.
At its most basic, Carlos’ Law increases the potential criminal corporate liability of businesses involved in construction projects. Affected parties can now potentially pursue claims of up to $500,000 thanks to expanded compensation rights under Carlos’ Law. The increased financial risk involved for construction firms will likely motivate many people to better manage their businesses and listen to their workers.
Workers must understand their rights to take action effectively
Many construction workers and their families don’t fully understand the laws that protect them at a federal level and also New York state laws that seek to reduce their job-related risks. Learning more about the laws that protect people from construction work injuries with the assistance of a legal professional can benefit those who have committed themselves to a career in this relatively dangerous profession.