Wrong Ladder 1

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Q: Inside the stockroom of a store, I was using a scissor lift to install a new paging system.  After finishing, I removed the lift from the stockroom.  Then I realized that I had left my tool pouch hanging from a pipe and went to retrieve it, using a store ladder inside the stockroom.  It had been left to my discretion whether to use a ladder or lift, depending on the height of the work, and this ladder was high enough for me to retrieve the pouch.

 I decided to use that ladder rather than the lift because I had already damaged the stockroom door with the lift.  In addition, it takes 40 minutes to move the lift in and out of the stock room, and I was under pressure to complete other tasks.  I could have gotten my employer’s ladder from a storage container outside the store, but it would have taken half an hour to have a security guard assist me.

Unfortunately, once I had climbed up, the store’s ladder kicked out from under me, causing me to fall to the floor.

A: You have a viable action under Labor Law § 240(1), which basically requires contractors and non-home owners to furnish devices that will protect all workers against elevation-related risks.  The defendants are rendered absolutely liable without regard to your care or lack of it.

Your lawyer will remind the court that – even if it might have been a better choice to use your employer’s ladder, or to use the store’s ladder in a better way, or to re-use the lift – negligence is beside the point in a section 240(1) action.   

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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