The Protruding Piece

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Q: At a building undergoing renovations, I was working for the flooring subcontractor, carrying tiles down the stairway.  As I was attempting to step onto a landing, my boot encountered a piece of steel that projected several inches from the stairwell post.  The boot was pierced and caught, and I tumbled down the stairs to the next landing.  That steel piece was flat, 1½ inches long and one-eighth inch wide.  After I reported the accident, the super cut it off and threw it away.

A: Section 241 of the Labor Law imposes a nondelegable duty of reasonable care upon owners and contractors to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to various people, including workers – in areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed.  To establish a claim under section 241, you must show that the defendant violated a rule or regulation promulgated by the Commissioner of Labor that sets forth a specific standard of conduct.

One such regulation is 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(e)(1).  It states, “All passageways shall be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from any other obstructions or conditions which could cause tripping.  Sharp projections which could cut or puncture any person shall be removed or covered.”

A jury can rationally conclude (a) that some party to, or participant in, the construction project was negligent in not exercising reasonable care, or not acting within a reasonable time, to prevent or remediate that hazardous piece of metal, and (b) that your slipping, falling and injury proximately resulted from this negligence.  That is, someone working on the renovation project either put the metal piece there or failed timely to discover and remove it.

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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