Reel on a Ramp

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Q: Down a plywood ramp, I walked backwards in front of a heavy reel of wire.  My coworker walked forwards behind it.  Each of us was using both hands.  On a two-foot circular patch of ice, I slipped and fell.  As a result, my coworker lost control of the reel.  The reel rolled over my shoulder and neck.

A: You appear to have an ironclad case under Labor Law § 240(1): a physically significant elevation differential had created a risk; and your accident was a direct consequence of the absence of adequate protection.  Section 240(1) enumerates pulleys, ropes and other safety devices.  Apparently, none were used.  As a result, you were struck by a heavy item falling from a significant elevation.

You also appear likely to have strong common-law negligence and Labor Law § 200 claims.  For example, the maintenance company must present evidence of a cleaning or maintenance schedule with respect to the ramps.  Perhaps there is evidence that slippery ice on ramps was repeatedly mentioned as a hazard.  Your attorney will argue that the company had notice of a recurring hazardous condition which routinely went unaddressed.

Even if the maintenance company claims that it used salt and calcium chloride as de-icing agents, your attorney will try to show e.g. that these agents were used only when it was necessary to shovel snow, but not in conditions of lighter snow or rain.

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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