The project manager for the construction site testified that it was either his job or the job of the supervisor/foreman to tell delivery trucks where to put their loads. He testified that he was notified that a delivery was going to be made to the site that morning and that in turn called the supervisor. He stated that he told the supervisor to only put two or three pallets on the second floor and no more than that. He stated that the supervisor said that he would comply. After the accident, the project manager testified that the supervisor came to him and apologized. The project manager stated that the supervisor had confessed to him to having more than three pallets put on the second floor because “he wanted to make his job easier, so he would not have to go down to the ground floor.” The project manager also testified that he had told them that even with only the three pallets on the second floor that they would need to be spread out to the side walls after they were placed on the second floor. He stated that he learned later that the laborers had been unable to keep up with the speed of the delivery truck in placing the pallets.
The injured laborer filed his lawsuit citing breaches of Labor Law §§240 (1) and 241 (6) requesting a summary motion to show negligence against the two companies that were in charge of the construction site and its safety. Under Labor Law §240 employers are required to provide safety devices to prevent falls for workers who are working at elevations. In this case, the company failed to provide any type of safety device and so they are liable under this law for the employee’s injury. The law states, “All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, [or] altering . . . of a building or structure shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.” In this case, the company failed to abide by these restrictions and the employee was injured. The court finds them liable under this section.
Labor Law § 241 (6) states, “All areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed shall be so constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.” Clearly, this was not the case in this situation. The supervisor, knowing the danger to the employees if the load was placed on the unfinished floor continued to command the delivery driver to overload the floor until it collapsed injuring the victim.
For the victim to be able to demonstrate a claim under Labor Law § 241 (6), he must be able to show a specific safety rule that was violated by the company in question. And he must show that this violation was a proximate cause of his accident. In this case, he cited 12NYCRR 23-2.1 (a)(2) which states that “[m]aterial and equipment shall not be stored upon any floor, platform or scaffold in such quantity or of such weight as to exceed the safe carrying capacity of such floor scaffold, or platform.” The Supreme Court again decided that the victim had made his case and that summary judgment is granted under this section assigning liability to the companies.