commercial building site subcontractors at workIf you are injured while working on a construction site, you are generally covered by workers’ compensation, even if your employer’s negligence or your own carelessness caused the accident that left you injured. Workers’ comp is a kind of no-fault insurance that covers employees for work-related injuries. It protects employers by preventing injury lawsuits by their employees, and it protects workers by covering medical bills and lost wages when they are hurt at work.

However, your employer is probably not the only company with people, vehicles, and equipment on the site. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a subcontractor, you could have grounds for a third-party lawsuit. If this is the case—or if you are not sure of your rights after a construction site accident—contact Hofmann & Schweitzer to learn more.

Potentially Liable Subcontractors on Typical New York Commercial Construction Sites

Commercial construction sites involve numerous subcontractors, each specializing in specific aspects of the construction process. While subcontractors are essential for completing projects efficiently, their activities also pose potential risks for other workers on the site if safety measures are not adequately implemented.

A New York or New Jersey commercial building project likely has a combination of at least some of the following subcontractors at any given time:

  • Excavation. Excavation contractors handle site preparation, including digging, grading, and trenching. If they fail to properly secure excavation sites, it can result in collapses, cave-ins, or workers falling into unsecured areas.
  • Concrete. Concrete contractors are responsible for pouring, shaping, and finishing concrete structures. Improperly managed vehicles, defective equipment, and poorly marked work areas could lead to accidents involving other workers on the site.
  • Steel. Steel contractors specialize in the installation of structural steel elements. Poor welding or securing of steel components can result in structural failures, posing risks to workers and others on the site. Improper storage of tools and equipment could also lead to injuries.
  • Roofing. Roofing contractors install roofing systems and ensure waterproofing. Careless workers, shoddy clean-up, and unsecured tools and equipment could cause injuries to people doing other jobs on the site.
  • Electrical. Electrical contractors handle the installation of electrical systems, wiring, and fixtures. Faulty wiring or inadequate safety measures can lead to electrical shocks, fires, or other hazards on the construction site.
  • Plumbing. Plumbing contractors install plumbing systems, including pipes and fixtures. Poor management of equipment or a failure to contain water could put others at risk of injury, including trips and falls.
  • HVAC. HVAC contractors install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Improper installation techniques could become fire hazards or expose others on the site to harmful substances.
  • Painting. Painting contractors handle surface preparation and application of paint or coatings. The use of toxic paints without proper ventilation or safety measures can lead to respiratory issues or chemical exposure.
  • Glass and glazing. Glass contractors install glass windows, doors, and curtain walls. Poorly maintained equipment could malfunction and cause glass to shatter, posing risks of cuts, falls, or other injuries.
  • Landscaping. Landscaping contractors handle exterior design, planting, and hardscaping. Careless or reckless vehicle movement, improper storage of equipment, and unmarked holes and ditches could pose hazards for other workers on the site.
  • Asphalt. Asphalt contractors handle the installation of asphalt surfaces, such as roads and parking lots. Operating vehicles and equipment carelessly could endanger workers who are doing other tasks on the site.
  • Demolition. Demolition contractors dismantle existing structures. Lack of proper safety precautions during demolition, such as falling debris or structural collapses, can lead to severe injuries.

New York Industrial Code Section 23 requires subcontractors, and others, to take specific steps to protect construction workers from on-the-job accident injuries. The regulations provide general safety provisions and also specific safety requirements for excavation (12 NYCRR Section 23.4), concrete work (12 NYCRR Section 23-2.2), structural steel assembly (12 NYCRR Section 23-2.3), work on roofs (12 NYCRR Section 23-1.24), painting (12 NYCRR Section 23-2.8), demolition operations (12 NYCRR Section 23-3) and other subcontractor responsibilities.

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