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Falling Pipe Wedged by Plaintiff not a Labor Law Violation (NY)

July 30, 2009

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In <i>Novak v. Del Savio</i>, plaintiff was an electrician working on a ladder, and was injured when a pipe he had wedged into the ceiling came loose and struck him in the face. The trial court granted summary judgment on plaintiff's Labor Law §240(1) claim.
Labor Law §240(1) requires owners and contractors to provide workers with appropriate safety devices to protect against gravity-related accidents such as falling from a height or being struck by a falling object.
However, not every object that falls on a worker gives rise to a Labor Law § 240(1) claim. A plaintiff must show that at the time the object fell it was “being hoisted or secured” or “required securing for the purposes of the undertaking.” The plaintiff must also show that the object fell “because of the absence or inadequacy of a safety device" as listed in the statute.
Here, the Appellate Division (2d Dept.) found that the pipe which fell was not in the process of being hoisted or secured, and did not require securing for the purpose of being affixed to the ceiling, and therefore, did not fall within the scope of the statute. The trial court’s decision was reversed.
<a href="http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/calendar/webcal/decisions/2009/D23957.pdf">http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/calendar/webcal/decisions/2009/D23957.pdf</a>

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