More protections are on the way for New York State construction workers. Last month, the New York State governor signed bill S.621B/A.4947B into law, also known as “Carlos’ Law.” The bill “amends the New York State Penal Law to increase the penalties for criminal corporate liability for the death or serious physical injury of an employee, a felony or misdemeanor, by a fine of up to $500,000.”
The bill is named after Carlos Moncayo, a construction worker who tragically died in a New York City construction trench collapse in 2015. At the time, the maximum criminal penalty for a misdemeanor criminal conviction in such a case was $10,000, sparking outrage. It’s now a minimum of $500,000 when the injury or death involves a felony violation, and a minimum of $300,000 when a misdemeanor is involved. The law also extends the designation of “employees” to day laborers and subcontractors. Critically, some of the whistleblower statutes connected to the law may make undocumented workers feel more comfortable about stepping forward to report violations, as fatalities within the private construction industry are at their highest level since 2007.
The law becomes effective this week, 30 days after its signin on December 12, 2022.
Although the law may be a step in the right direction for creating a safer work environment for construction workers, it is often not enough for workers and their families who are the victims of negligence by their employees. Only about 80 of 400,000 worker deaths have been criminally prosecuted since the original Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
If you or a loved one was injured in a workplace or construction accident, and your injuries and damages exceed what you are receiving from worker’s compensation, schedule a free personal injury consultation at our offices in Kingston, NY or Poughkeepsie, NY.
Some of the reasons a company or another party could be held liable for an accident include:
- Inadequate fall protection
- Poor communication or warnings about hazards
- Insufficient ladders and scaffolding
- Insufficient machine guarding
- Unsafe electrical wiring
- Intentional dangerous acts
According to OSHA in New York State, the most common OSHA violations are:
- Fall Protection
- Hazard Communication Standards
- Respiratory Protection
- Control of hazardous energy
- Powered Industrial Trucks
- Fall Protection Training
- Machinery and Machine Guarding
- Eye and Face Protection