Without a Hard Hat

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Q: While I was working on a construction project, an object fell from the top floor of our new building onto my right foot, buttocks, left hip, ribs and elbow.  At the time of the accident, I was walking in an alleyway on the ground level, to shut off a water connection, as directed by my on-site supervisor, without a hard hat.

A: If the object was being hoisted or secured – or required securing – you seem to have a good case under Labor Law § 240(1), the ‘Scaffolding Law’ – which requires scaffolding and other devices giving proper protection to workers.

In addition, if the alleyway was normally exposed to falling material or objects, then you appear to have a good case under Labor Law § 241(6), for two reasons.  One, because 12 NYCRR 23-1.7(a)(1) mandates the use of appropriate safety devices to protect workers from overhead hazards in areas where they are required to work or pass that are normally exposed to falling material or objects.  Two, because 12 NYCRR 23-2.1(a)(2) requires that material and equipment not be placed or stored so close to any edge of a floor, platform or scaffold as to endanger a worker beneath that edge.

As for your failure to wear a hard hat, your attorney will argue that this failure was not a proximate cause of your injuries, let alone the sole one.  To a Labor Law §240(1) claim, although sole proximate cause is a defense, mere comparative negligence is not.  To a Labor Law § 241(6) claim, although comparative negligence can constitute a valid defense, the failure was not a proximate cause of your injuries since you simply were not hit on his head.

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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