The following is a general summary of three New York Labor Law Statutes, Sections 200, 204(1), and 241(6), that present some unique challenges to the New York construction industry. We recommend that our construction clients consult with their attorneys to determine how the statutes apply to their business. It's very important that each statute is understood, and managed properly. It's our goal to provide you good solid information, so you are in position to make an educated business decision.
Section 200 ( Safe Work Environment Statute)
This statute governs all individuals and or entities who control places of employment , (job sites, office buildings, restaurants, retail locations, apartment buildings, e.t.c). There is a common law duty to provide all employees with a safe place to work.
The premise owner or general contractor is required to provide "reasonable and adequate protection" to the lives, health and safety of all employees or visitors to the work site.
The alleged violation of the duty to provide such protection is most often brought against the premises owner or general contractor, not the injured person, (plaintiff) who may actually be the responsible party in the suit.
The injured person's (plaintiff's) own negligent conduct may be used as a defense against the plaintiff.
Section 240 (1) (Scaffold, Ladder and Working at a Height Statute)
This statute governs all premise owners and contractors (except owners of 1 and 2 family dwellings). It protects employees from special hazards related to height that arise when engaged in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, pointing of a building or structure. It applies when the work site is elevated or if the work site is positioned below the levels where materials are hoisted.
This section is unique in the fact that the duties of a premise owner or general contractor are non-delegable and absolute, meaning that the liability for a negligent act is attached to them based upon their status as a premise owner or general contractor, not their conduct.
The negligence of the injured person (plaintiff), normally a sub-contractor, is not a legal defense and the premise owner or general contractor will be held responsible for the negligent acts of the plaintiff.
Thru proper use of Indemnification language, complete with Hold Harmless clauses, coupled with Additional Insured Endorsements w/ "Your Work" wording, can liability be passed back to the responsible party, and paid for.
Section 241 (6) ( Construction, Excavation, and Demolition Work Statute)
This statute require reasonable and adequate safety equipment to be provided for all persons employed in the construction, excavation or demolitions classifications.
This section does not deal with the elevation related risks as does 240 (1).
Like section 200, the injured person's (plaintiff's) own negligent conduct may be used as a defense against plaintiff.