Ironworkers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They often work at great heights and face a variety of hazards on a daily basis. Under New York Laws, property owners and general contractors have a responsibility to create a reasonably safe workplace and help protect workers from harm.
Ironworkers are dealing with multiple occupational hazards on a regular basis. They can be hurt on the job in several ways, including:
- Falls from heights: Workers may fall from elevations because of inadequate fall protection, when unsupported columns or unsecured open web steel joists collapse, during installation of floors or decks, or through unprotected floor openings. Falls from heights can cause traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, spinal cord injury, and fractured bones.
- Struck by falling objects or materials: Workers may be hit by dropped rebar, debris, tools, or other objects falling from above. This type of accident can cause head injuries, crush injuries, bone fractures, or death.
- Caught between objects: This can happen during rigging and hoisting. Workers can suffer severe crush injuries when caught between objects such as a piece of heavy machinery and a steel beam.
- Impalement: Ironworkers can be impaled on unprotected reinforcing dowels. This can result in crushing and penetration injuries, tissue loss, massive blood loss, serious fractures, and wound contamination.
- Contact with power lines: This can cause electrocution or electrical shock.
- Toxic exposure: Ironworkers may be exposed to harmful chemicals, contaminants, or toxic fumes. They also face a risk of exposure to asbestos and lead.
- Heat exposure: Ironwork is done outdoors. In the summer months, which means exposure to hot temperatures and a risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Ironworkers may have more than one source of compensation after serious work-related injuries. First, there is the workers’ compensation system that allows employees to seek benefits regardless of fault for an accident. Benefits are capped under workers’ comp. It should cover your medical expenses related to a workplace injury or illness and compensate you for a portion of your lost wages.
If a negligent third party (other than your employer) caused your accident and injuries, you may have a personal injury claim against that party. This would allow you to seek additional damages, such as the full value of your lost wages, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In New York, state laws provide additional protection for construction workers. Property owners and general contractors can be held liable for violations of the following labor laws that contributed to your injuries:
- Owners and general contractors have a general duty to protect the health and safety of employees under Labor Law Section 200.
- Owners and general contractors are strictly liable for most fall injuries under Labor Law Section 240.
- Workers must be provided with adequate safety equipment under Labor Law Section 241.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, our New York workers’ compensation lawyers can explore every avenue available and help you pursue the maximum compensation for your injuries. If the actions of a negligent third party contributed to your injuries and you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, it will not affect your workers’ comp benefits, but it could provide you with additional compensation.
Call us at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you what your options for recovery may be and what damages you may be entitled to claim.