The Drain Hole

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Q: On a construction site, I was passing from the roof into a room.  First, I moved my left foot across its two-foot-high threshold.  Then, without realizing it, I stepped into an uncovered drain hole in the floor directly behind the threshold.  This caused me to fall to the floor.  Apparently, a contractor had failed to provide temporary protection at the drain hole.

A: You appear to have a good case under Labor Law § 241(6), which requires that an owner and contractors provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to any person employed at, or lawfully visiting, this site.  Your attorney will allege a violation of 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(e)(1), which applies to tripping hazards in a passageway – contending that the room’s ‘doorway’ constituted a passageway within the meaning of the regulation, and that the proximate cause of your injury was the drain hole within this passageway.

You also seem to have a good case under Labor Law § 200 and common-negligence.  Your injuries arose from the condition of the workplace, rather than the method used in performing the work, and it is very likely that you can show that the defendants were on notice as to the uncovered drain hole.

As for the drain-hole contractor, it may contend that it owed you no duty of care because it ‘lacked contractual privity’.  Your attorney is likely to say in rebuttal that nevertheless you were entitled to rely on that contractor’s performance, when you walked across the threshold.

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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