Could harsher penalties for construction violations be coming to New York State?

Western New York Personal Injury Law Blog

Western New York Personal Injury Law Blog

If you or a loved one works in construction in New York State, you could soon start seeing greater efforts to keep sites safer. Lawmakers recently approved a bill that would significantly increase the fines for criminal liability on a job site. 

Details of Carlos’ Law

The measure is called Carlos’ Law, named after Carlos Moncayo. He was fatally injured in a 2015 construction accident when a trench collapsed on top of him.

The morning of the accident, private investigators told the foreman and another person at the construction company that the trench was unsafe.

Despite these warnings, the men informed ignored them. Because he failed to act, the foreman was convicted on two charges: criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. 

The bill, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, is aimed at increasing penalties in these cases of criminal liability for injuries on construction sites. It raises the maximum fine from $10,000 to no less than $500,000 or no less than $300,000 for a misdemeanor. 

In Moncayo’s case, fixing the trench would have cost about $10,000. The hope is that, in the future, companies and individuals will make the $10,000 change to avoid a $500,000 fine. 

Pushes to protect construction workers

Construction is one of the most hazardous occupations. Workers regularly use powerful machines and equipment and often work in dangerous environments, like high off the ground or trenches.

While parties, including contractors, should make every effort to protect workers by enforcing safety regulations and providing proper training and materials, not all of them do. They cut corners or put profits over the safety of their employees, seriously endangering them. 

Workers already take incredible risks by working in construction. When they also face unsafe conditions, non-compliance with regulations and other serious threats, their lives can indeed be on the line. Hopefully, measures like this will continue to move forward to prioritize safety and hold parties accountable when they fail to protect workers.

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