Section 240 of the New York Labor Law is often referred to as the “Scaffold Law” because it protects construction workers who work at heights and are at risk of falling. The statute places liability on owners and contractors who fail to give workers adequate safety equipment. Section 240(1), however, does not apply only when workers fall but can also apply when workers are injured by falling objects. The Supreme Court in New York County recently considered a summary judgment motion in a case involving both a falling worker and a falling object in Gericitano v. Brookfield Properties OLP Co., LLC.
The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants under Labor Law § 240(1) and moved for partial summary judgment. The plaintiff was a journeyman electrician who was working at the site of an electrical renovation on the 32nd floor. He was instructed to finish the installation of a transformer that had been partially installed on the day before. The transformer was in a closet, suspended from the ceiling.
The plaintiff testified that the accident occurred while he was trimming the rods by which the transformer was suspended from the ceiling. The transformer struck him in the head and knocked him off the ladder. He also hit his head on the ground and was rendered unconscious.