An injured worker who fell through an open manhole while attempting to step over it is entitled to summary judgment under a New York Labor Law claim, according to the state’s appeals court.
The appeals court found there were issues of fact surrounding how far the general contractor at the worksite went to ensure the safety of workers.
Fell through hole he was told to cover
In Piccone v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, the worker was injured when he fell down an open, unguarded manhole that he was instructed to cover while working on a construction site.
The worker filed a lawsuit, claiming that the owner of the worksite and the general contractor in charge of the project violated the New York Labor Law, leading to his injury.
In court, the owner and general contractor argued that the worker caused the accident himself when he stepped over the open manhole and was accidentally bumped by another worker.
A lower court granted the worker partial summary judgment since there was no doubt that there was no protective railing or other safety device around the manhole.
Issues of fact lead to summary judgment
On appeal, the court found there were genuine issues of fact around whether the incident was connected to the owner’s “failure to provide adequate safety protections around the open manhole” and the general contractor’s safety obligations under its contract.
Those issues of fact of meant the worker was entitled to full summary judgment, according to the court.