Welding is a particularly hazardous occupation within the already dangerous construction industry. Welders, along with iron workers and pipe fitters, face the risks of welder’s flash, burns, ionizing radiation, and toxic exposure at construction sites. If you were injured in a welding accident, you should consult the Syracuse welding accident lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about the viability of a claim for damages.Welding Accidents
Workers can sustain serious injuries in welding accidents. Exposure to UV radiation from arc welding can burn workers as well as increase their risk of skin cancer. Exposure to bright light and welder’s flash can injure the surface of your eye resulting in cataracts and blindness. Additionally, intense heat applied to metal produces chemical byproducts. Toxic welding fumes can affect the kidneys, lungs, bones, nervous system, and joints and may cause cancer or Parkinson’s disease. Welding also poses a risk of electric shock may occur. Even personal protective gear may not prevent all injuries. However, appropriate safety precautions should be taken.Liability for Welding Accidents
To protect workers, New York requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. When employees are hurt in a welding accident, they can obtain benefits from their employer’s policy. However, these benefits often do not cover the full scope of losses. If you are injured in a welding accident caused by someone other than your employer at a construction site, a welding accident attorney in Syracuse can help you recover damages in a lawsuit.
If you were injured in a welding accident, your lawyer may be able help you seek compensation from third parties including property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and welding equipment manufacturers or distributors if they contributed to the accident. New York has strict and complicated laws that are designed to provide special protection to construction workers, including welders injured onsite: Labor Law 200, Labor Law 240, and Labor Law 241(6).Labor Law 200
Labor Law 200 codifies common law negligence. Construction sites should be conducted, arranged, and equipped to provide adequate, reasonable protection for the safety of everyone working there or frequenting the site. Similarly, machinery and devices on a construction site should be placed, guarded, lighted, and operated in order to provide reasonable and adequate protection. For example, if you were injured in a welding accident because the contractor installed improper lighting at the welding location, a Syracuse welding accident attorney may be able to hold contractors or owners of the job site accountable for your injuries.Labor Law § 240
Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, states that all contractors and owners must furnish hoists, scaffolds, ladders, slings, stays, blocks, pulleys, hangers, braces, ropes, irons and other safety devices in order to protect construction workers. Owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not control the work are exempted from this law. The law is intended to protect against gravity-related accidents. You can hold a contractor or owner absolutely liabile for gravity-related accidents if its failure to properly protect against a fall or improperly-secured falling object proximately caused your injuries. For instance, if you suffered head trauma and burns because an improperly-secured load fell on you while you were welding, you may have a claim for damages under section 240(1).Labor Law 241(6)
Under Labor Law 241(6), areas where construction, demolition or excavation are being performed should be operated, conducted, arranged, guarded equipped, shored or constructed to give reasonable, adequate protection to people working there or lawfully frequenting the site. Owners of one or two-family dwellings that do not control work are exempt. In order to recover under Labor Law 241(6), you will need to show your injuries were proximately caused by a New York Industrial Code violation. Under New York Industrial Code §23-1.25(d), certain safety devices such as eye protection and proper scaffolds need to be provided to those involved in welding.
Further, New York Industrial Code §23-1.25(a), §23-1.25(b), and §23-1.2(c) provide detailed safety rules for welding equipment. When a contractor or owner’s failure to follow these rules proximately causes a worker’s injuries, the worker may have a claim for damages. Under §23-1.25(a), compressed gas cylinders that are not being used should be stored upright apart from radiators, open flames, and other heat sources. They should also be stored away from combustible materials and any hazards of spontaneous combustion. If you were welding at a construction project and you were injured in an explosion that occurred because a compressed gas cylinder stored nearby onsite was hit by a shower of sparks, a welding accident lawyer in Syracuse may be able to bring a claim against an owner or contractor.Consult a Syracuse Attorney
If you were injured due to a welding accident, you may be able to seek damages beyond your workers’ compensation benefits. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers represent accident victims in Rochester, Syracuse, and other cities in Upstate New York. These cities include Auburn, Lyons, Oneida, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Oswego, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Utica, Elmira, Lowville, Herkimer, and Utica. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.