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When Firefighting Equipment Fails, Who’s at Fault?

October 30, 2017 | Dominique A. Penson

When Firefighting Equipment Fails, Who’s at Fault?

What happens if a member of the FDNY is injured at work as a result of defective equipment? Suppose, for example, that the SCBA fails, or a thumb gets crushed by the apparatus door that has a new and hazardously placed handle. Is the City of New York liable to the firefighter for any resulting injury? The answer is generally yes. Under federal and New York state law, an employer has a duty to furnish employees with the equipment they need to perform the job and to maintain the equipment in a safe condition. An employer also has a duty to provide employees with a safe place to work, free from recognized hazards that could cause serious injury. In fact, over the years, our firm has brought all kinds of actions against the City of New York for failing to provide safe equipment or a safe workplace. They have included, among others, cases for providing a leaky SCBA, for failing to timely provide bunker gear rather than turnout gear in a timely manner, for not repairing a leaky roof that led to a ceiling collapse, for not repairing leaks that led to a bathroom stall collapse, for a defective pumper truck whose pumps went out of control, for providing an unsafe ladder, for dangerously placing handles on apparatus doors, and for not having a stopping or reversing mechanism on apparatus doors.

If you are injured at work because of unsafe equipment or unsafe conditions, and you want to know your rights, consult with an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law.

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