Hoisted on a Crane

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Q: On a large construction project, I was employed as a landscaper – performing landscaping on a fifth-floor roof.  A crane had hoisted up a 2,500-pound bag of soil, and I was in the process of detaching the bag.  While it was still attached, the crane lifted.  My hand was caught by the straps connecting the bag to the crane.  The straps lifted me off the roof, and I fell.

A: Let us assume that the project had a construction manager (“CM”).  Your attorney will seek evidence that the CM (a) had approved the craning-operation plans and (b) could have intervened in, and stopped, the operation – if the CM had observed an unsafe practice.  Such facts would indicate that the CM had direct authority over the craning operation.  ‘Direct authority’ supports a claim of common-law negligence, i.e. under section 200 of the Labor Law.  Your attorney also will seek evidence that the CM (a) functioned as the eyes, ears and voice of the owner with respect to site safety, (b) had broad responsibility for ensuring site safety, and (c) oversaw the planning of the craning operation – specifically with regard to safety.  Such facts would support claims under Labor Law sections 240(1) and 241(6).

Section 240(1) appears to be applicable, because (a) your injuries flowed directly from the application of the force of gravity to an object, namely, the 2,500-pound bag of soil, and (b) sufficient protections appear to have been absent.  Section 241(6) also appears to be applicable, because (a) NYCRR 23-8.1(f)(5) provides that a mobile crane “shall not hoist, lower, swing or travel while any person is located on the load or hook” and (b) it appears that the crane traveled while you were attached to the load and that this violation caused your injuries.

Let us assume that the project also had an architect.  Your attorney will seek evidence that, much like the CM, the architect (a) was responsible for coordinating and supervising the entire construction project and (b) was able to enforce safety standards and to hire responsible contractors.  If so, the architect too may be subject to liability under sections 240(1) and 241(6).

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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