New York City Construction Crane Accidents are Latest Examples of the Risk of Loose Laws Favoring Contractors and Developers in NYC

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New York City construction accident lawyer David Perecman explains how laws do not protect construction workers, local residents and passersby.

(NYCRR rule 23). The Industrial Code has not been updated or revised in over 30 years despite tremendous change in construction technology and methods. Most, if not all, contractors have no idea what this

David H. Perecman, a veteran New York City construction accident lawyer and co-founder of New York construction accident attorneys law firm Perecman & Fanning, expressed sadness at this weekend's New York City crane construction accidents.

"Once again the people in the City of New York are witness to the tragic deaths of innocent construction workers resulting from questionable construction practices," said Mr. Perecman. "Saturday's crane collapse is yet another construction site mishap in the seemingly endless string of accidents where construction workers die or are injured in height related accidents. Deaths from construction accidents have been on the rise in New York City and a main factor has been unsafe working conditions caused in part by laws that don't protect the workers and the residents."

New York City crane construction accidents left four New York City construction workers dead and 17 others were injured on March 15, 2008 when a large construction crane broke apart and fell onto five different buildings at New York's 51st street. The New York Times recently reported that construction injuries have almost doubled from 23 in November of 2006 to 42 the same time one year previous, while building code violations increased from 38 to 58 in the same period.

David Perecman is the current Secretary of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) and a chair of its Construction Accident Law Committee. "Every year there are efforts by groups like "Unshackle Upstate" and parts of the New York Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business groups to weaken, repeal or modify the law so that it becomes less effective in protecting workers and saving lives. One of these laws, a statute, Labor Law 240(1), relatively unique to New York, is under constant attack by pro-business groups as being too harsh on owners and contractors. Recent New York court decisions have made it more difficult to sue owners and contractors for some crane type accidents. We must continue to protect our workers and laws for everyone's safety," said Mr. Perecman.

Mr. Perecman explained, "The other New York law regarding accidents like the crane's collapse (Labor Law 241(6)) requires that to successfully sue a general contractor or owner a worker has to prove the violation of a certain specific type of regulation contained in New York's "Industrial Code" (NYCRR rule 23). The Industrial Code has not been updated or revised in over 30 years despite tremendous change in construction technology and methods. Most, if not all, contractors have no idea what this "Industrial Code" is and instead, only feel they need to guide themselves by the rules written by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The problem is that an OSHA violation does not allow a worker to sue the owner and contractor under Labor Law 241(6) based upon an OSHA violation. This is not a minor problem, or just a small technicality."

Mr. Perecman works with legislators in an effort to strengthen New York's construction and labor laws that real estate developers and insurance companies are attempting to weaken. He has testified before the Standing Committee on Housing of the New York State Assembly and the Standing Committee on Cities and the Standing Committee on Codes, and regarding this very important issue. Mr. Perecman told the Assembly that New York construction safety laws are currently outdated and need to be strengthened in order to be effective tools to protect construction workers. The Crane Construction Accidents in New York City this weekend are an example of the tragedies that the New York construction accident attorneys are trying to prevent.

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