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Knowing New York’s Labor Laws is one thing, but it is not enough just to know the statutes. For instance, Labor Law section 241 (6) requires that when a building is demolished, the walls and other parts of the structure must be shored up and guarded during the work to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the workers on the demolition crew. But if you are injured on the job due to inadequate protection, it is not enough just to point to section 241 (6). You must instead go the voluminous New York Code, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) and find a specific rule or regulation that supports that particular statute.
In this case, Title 12 of the NYCRR covers the Department of Labor, and Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Part 23 refers specifically to protection in construction, demolition and excavation operations. The codes go further down and provide Subparts on construction, demolition, excavation, scaffolding, material hoisting, personnel hoists, cranes, and more. If you want to know about demolition rules, locate Subpart 23-3, Demolition Operations, and if your injury involved demolition by hand as opposed to mechanical demolition methods, you will want 23-3.3, Demolition by Hand.
Once you have found the precise regulation covering your injury, you may find that you still have to litigate how that rule should be interpreted. In the case of Wilinski v 334 E. 92nd Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., decided on October 25, 2011, a construction worker was injured during demolition when exposed pipes fell on him during demolition, causing a concussion and other injuries. The worker pointed to 12 NYCRR 23-3.3 (b) (3), which states that “Walls, chimneys and other parts of any building or other structure shall not be left unguarded in such condition that such parts may fall, collapse or be weakened by wind pressure or vibration.” The defendant argued in court that the plaintiff had to show that the pipes fell because of wind pressure or vibration, and the case had to travel all the way to the New York Court of Appeals, where the court held that the rule was violated if the pipes were left unguarded to that they could fall or collapse or be weakened by wind pressure or vibration.
Obtaining compensation for your work-related injury can be a complicated process. Navigating the myriad laws, codes, rules, and regulations can be daunting, but finding the applicable law and knowing how to apply it can be essential to success. If you have been injured on the job in a construction accident or other workplace accident, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for advice and representation from an attorney who knows New York labor law.