An Injured New York Construction Worker That Has Fallen on the Ground Hofmann and SchweitzerEven when a worksite is inherently dangerous, employers have a duty to provide as safe a working environment as possible to employees. In order to protect builders at work, the New York City Buildings Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outline different requirements and obligations for employers and contractors performing construction. Violations of these codes can lead to serious injuries for workers, and can form the basis of an injury claim after an accident.

Building Code Violations Are a Common Cause of Injuries on NYC Worksites

The New York City Buildings Department issues thousands of stop work orders every year due to safety rule violations. If a condition is not discovered—or if work continues despite the order—construction workers can suffer severe or fatal injury as a result.

Common Violations of New York Building Codes or Safety Codes

Installation violations

Including a failure to install handrails and guardrails, failure to secure and anchor ladders, lack of proper scaffolding or netting, and inadequate plumbing or electrical wiring for the structure.

Staffing violations

Such as failure to have properly licensed supervisors, violating fire code maximum capacity limitations, failing to provide adequate safety equipment to all workers, and performing work without a permit.

Specialty work violations

Such as plumbing, welding, or electrical work performed by non-licensed individuals.

Improper removal

Such as failure to follow standards for site excavation, hazardous materials, or asbestos removal procedures.

Maintenance oversights

Including failure to remedy known hazardous conditions, perform regular maintenance.

Health and sanitation violations

Including locations of restrooms and break rooms.

Lack of warning signs

Such as gas line warnings, hard hat area notices, warning of slippery conditions, failure to mark exits, or leaving hatches or holes exposed with no barriers or signs.

Who Can Be Liable for an Injury Caused by a Building Code Violation?

Many different parties may be responsible for a failure to keep the workplace free from hazards. Workers who are injured on New York City construction sites can file third-party lawsuits against owners and contractors, and can also include an employer in an injury lawsuit if the accident involves a grave injury.

Responsibility for a building code violation may fall on:

Construction Managers 

If a construction manager allows work to continue despite a stop-work order, he or she may be liable for a worker’s injury.


Although the general contractor is usually responsible for the overall safety of a worksite, there may be many subcontractors hired to perform a variety of different tasks on the project. Under New York labor laws, an injured employee who proves that his or her injury was caused by a violation of the Industrial Code of the State of New York can recover payment for his or her injuries.

Property Owners and Landlords

Liability for a construction site accident will typically fall on the person(s) who had a degree of control over the work being performed, the premises where the accident happened, or the individuals on the project. Owners and developers who directed the work or were involved in the daily activities of the project may share blame for the conditions that led to the accident.

Other Parties 

Code violations can occur at all phases of a project, from the initial design to installation and opening of the structure. Liability may fall on engineers, inspectors, equipment and material suppliers, and other professionals who failed to identify and rectify defective conditions.

Since many different parties could be liable for a single incident, it is vital that workers have the accident and worksite thoroughly investigated following an injury. Our New York City construction accident attorneys can examine the details of your case to see which third parties may be responsible, as well as working to get you the workers’ compensation benefits you are owed. Simply fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.


Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.