Electrocution injuries are common among construction workers. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), over a recent seven-year period there were 74,950 nonfatal electrical injuries and 850 fatal electrical injuries in the construction industry.
If you were electrocuted on the jobsite in New York City, workers’ compensation should cover the costs of your medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Workers’ comp also provides cash benefits for disabled workers.
Depending on the severity of your injury, it may be in your best interest to seek out additional sources of compensation. Under New York Labor Laws, property owners and contractors may be held liable for harm that construction workers suffer. You may also have a claim against a product manufacturer if, for example, a malfunctioning electrical tool caused your injury.
Common Construction Site Electrical Injuries
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the most frequent causes of electrical injuries are:
- Contact with power lines.
- Lack of ground-fault protection.
- Path to ground missing or discontinuous.
- Equipment not used properly.
- Improper use of extension and flexible cords.
Electrical Injuries and N.Y. Labor Laws
New York Labor Laws offer strong protections to workers who are injured on-the-job.
You may have heard of the “scaffold law” (Labor Law Section 240), which imposes absolute liability on owners and contractors for worker injuries that result from a violation of at-height worksite safety measures. If your electrocution injury was caused by improper protection while you were working above the ground, an owner or contractor could be found liable for the harm you suffered, even if your own negligence contributed to the injury.
Sections 200 and 241(6) of the Labor Laws may also apply to electrocution injuries and allow for a lawsuit against an owner or contactor. Labor Law Section 200 offers generalized worker protection against an unsafe workplace, while a lawsuit under Section 241(6) must be supported by a violation of the Industrial Code.
Section 23-1.13 of the Industrial Code is devoted exclusively to electrical hazards. For example, Section 23-1.13(4) states that employees are to be protected against electrocution by de-energizing, grounding and insulating circuits, as well as by providing workers with protective equipment.
An experienced New York City construction accident lawyer familiar with the Labor Laws and Industrial Code can tell you which regulations may support a third-party lawsuit.
Unsafe Equipment and Electrocution
The Industrial Code lists safety measures for electrical hand tools that must be followed on construction sites. Specifically, electrical tools must be equipped with a cut off switch and be properly grounded during use.
Generally, the Industrial Code forbids an employer from permitting an employee to use machinery or equipment that is “not in good repair and in safe working condition.”
In addition to these and other violations that may support a lawsuit under New York’s Labor Law, the manufacturer of an unsafe tool that causes electrocution may be held responsible in a product liability lawsuit.
Protect Your Interests. Speak With an NYC Construction Accident Attorney.
Between the New York State workers’ compensation system, Labor Laws and Industrial Code, construction workers in New York City have some of the strongest protections in the country. However, taking full advantage of them requires assistance from a lawyer.
- New York State Department of Labor, Division of Safety and Health – Protection in Construction, Demolition and Excavation Operations
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration – Electrical Incidents
- Electrical Safety Foundation International – Workplace Electrical Injury and Fatality Statistics, 2003-2010