Construction is an inherently dangerous business that often requires the use of heavy machinery, power tools, scaffolding, hoists, and other equipment. New York City construction workers are put in hazardous conditions every day. The precarious nature of construction work means employers and site operators should be extra vigilant regarding safety protocols and standards on the worksite.
Although employers and site operators are responsible for maintaining a safe workplace, not everyone takes this responsibility seriously. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2020, more than 1 in 5 workplace deaths happened in the construction industry. New legislation in New York seeks to hold careless employers responsible for their actions, thereby increasing accountability when tragic accidents happen on-site.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., our attorneys want you to know how this new law could affect you if you are a construction worker hurt at work.
What Is Carlos’ Law?
Carlos’ Law, named for Carlos Moncayo, is a recent, landmark piece of legislation. Moncayo was employed with a construction company that had been cited numerous times for safety violations. In April 2015, the 22-year-old Moncayo was working in an unreinforced trench about 14 feet deep when the walls suddenly collapsed, burying him alive under thousands of pounds of dirt, which ultimately resulted in his death.
The circumstances of Moncayo’s death led to his family filing manslaughter and other charges against two construction managers and the companies they worked for at the time, according to an article in the New York Times.
Recently, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that aims to protect the safety of New York construction workers while adding another layer of accountability to companies that disregard safety protocols.
How Can Carlos’ Law Help Protect New York Construction Workers?
The new law helps to protect New York construction workers by making companies guilty of criminal corporate liability when they “recklessly, intentionally, or knowingly cause the death or serious physical injury” of a worker. Such businesses can now face significant penalties in the form of increased maximum fines of up to $500,000. Corporations that fail to follow safety protocols can face increased punitive measures. New York courts can also set restitution or reparations if a corporation is found guilty of a violation that results in the death or significant injury of a worker.
Backers of the measure say that current Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) fines and punitive measures do little to encourage employers to take proactive steps to ensure a safe working environment for their employees.
Contact Our NYC Construction Accident Law Firm Today
New York City continues to grow on the backs of construction workers. These vital workers deserve to earn a living in a safe and secure environment, free from unnecessary hazards. Carlos’ Law is one step in the right direction for protecting the rights of all employees working in New York.
Have you been injured in a construction accident? Contact the New York legal team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., today for a free consultation. We are ready to fight aggressively to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.