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First Department Holds Worker Knocked off Flatbed Truck While Preparing a Crate for Hoisting is Entitled to Labor Law 240(1) Protection

Commonly known as the "Scaffold Law," New York Labor Law 240(1) offers financial protection to construction workers who have suffered elevation-related injuries. The labor law places absolute liability-meaning that liability is imposed regardless of fault–on the property owner and general contractor when a worker suffers an injury due to a fall from elevation or is struck by a falling object. By placing absolute liability on general contractors and property owners, the labor law essentially provides construction workers compensation for damages for most elevation-related injuries.
Questions often arise in fact-specific cases as to whether a worker or an action is protected under the Labor Law.  The Appellate Division, First Department, dealt with this issue in the case Grant v. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, et al.:

"Plaintiff was injured when a crate of glass that he was preparing for offloading from the back of a flatbed truck for window installation at Museum tipped over onto him, knocking him to the ground. Contrary to defendants’ contention, preparing a six-foot-tall crate weighing at least 1,500 pounds for hoisting posed an elevation-related risk for plaintiff within the meaning of Labor Law § 240(1) (see Marrero v 2075 Holding Co. LLC, 106 AD3d 408 [1st Dept 2013]), and the crate was “an object that required securing for the purposes of the undertaking” (Outar v City of New York , 5 NY3d 731, 732 [2005]).

Further, there is unrebutted evidence that various devices, including wooden blocks for bracing, would have stabilized the crate while it was being maneuvered into a position to have slings placed on it for hoisting by the crane. Since plaintiff was never provided with proper safety devices, his use of the Johnson bar, or J-bar, to move the crate into position was not the sole proximate cause of the accident (DeRose v Bloomingdale’s
Inc., 120 AD3d 41, 45 [1st Dept 2014])."
Have you suffered an injury while working at a construction site? Do you believe you have a lawsuit under New York Labor Law 240(1) or 241(6)? If so, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online for a free consultation. Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool will review your claim to see how they may be able to help you.