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Construction Workers Injured in Ladder Accidents Protected by Court Decision

The New York lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy carefully review all of the legal decisions that impact the hard-working women and men in the construction industry. The construction laws in New York are designed to protect workers and promote a safe working environment. They place the responsibility for safety on the shoulders of those best able to control the workplace – – the property owners and general contractors. The law requires owners and general contractors to provide appropriate safety devices that will allow workers to complete their jobs in a safe manner. If they fail to comply with the laws, they are responsible for a serious injury or death that a construction worker sustains. While the law sounds simple enough, the decisions are often confounding.

This week, the Appellate Division in the Second Department of New York issued an interesting decision concerning a construction accident. A link to the case, Robinson v Bond St. Levy, LLC., appears at the end of this article. Keep reading for a brief analysis of the case.

The injured construction worker was working as a laborer at a Manhattan construction site. He was standing near the top of a 10 foot A-frame ladder and removing duct work from the ceiling. While he was working, a 10 foot long piece of metal duct work struck him in the back. The blow caused the injured worker and the ladder to fall to the ground. The fall resulted in the worker being injured.

The court decided that the injured worker and his lawyers established that the defendants failed to provide him with a safe work environment. More specifically, the court concluded that the absence of adequate safety devices to protect the injured worker from falling was a violation of the law. Safety devices that prevent a worker from falling are often referred to as fall-protection devices or personal protective equipment. The court further found that the failure to provide the appropriate safety devices was a cause of the accident.

The reasoning of the court is somewhat elusive. Was the failure to provide appropriate safety devices centered on the metal duct work not being properly secured during the work? Was it that a ladder was inappropriate for the job? Or, was the fact that the ladder was not being secured while the worker was laboring at an elevated height? The answer is it could be any, some or all of these reasons. While the court did not completely spell out their rationale, the message is clear: Construction work is a very dangerous occupation and when someone is working high off the ground on something like a ladder, a scaffold or a crane, an accident can often result in serious injury or death. Labor Law 240 is the law that protects workers at construction sites. The law makes sure that those responsible for safety at a worksite are held accountable when an accident occurs because a worker was not given a safe place to work.

Block O’Toole & Murphy is one of New York’s premier construction accident law firms. The firm, located in Manhattan, takes pride in fighting for injured workers inside and outside of the courtroom. Inside the courtroom, their victories for construction workers have been nothing short of sensational. With more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their seriously injured clients, Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm that their opponents both fear and respect. To learn more about these trial lawyers, please see the firm website at For a free consultation, you may contact them at 212-736-5300.