A New York appeals court granted summary judgment in a Labor Law case to a worker who was struck on the head by a falling scaffolding pole, finding that the employer failed to properly secure the pole.
The New York Appellate Division, First Department found that the employer was negligent in failing to provide its workers the proper means to secure the pole, resulting in the injury.
Co-worker failed to hold pole upright since it wasn’t secured
Harold Ruiz was injured when a heavy scaffolding pole, which was 10 to 14-feet tall and weighed 80 to 100 pounds, fell on his head and shoulder while he was working on a construction site. A co-worker was trying to hold the pole upright as it was being installed but couldn’t do so because it wasn’t secured.
Ruiz filed a Labor Law claim against the employer, Phipps Houses, arguing that the company was negligent in failing to properly secure the pole.
Phipps Houses claimed that the injury didn’t qualify under the Labor Law since the pole didn’t fall far enough to qualify as an elevation risk.
Pole qualified as an elevation risk
The appeals court found that the pole “fell from a distance that was not de minimis, as the pole was made of iron and was able to generate a large amount of force during its descent.”
Because of this, the court said Ruiz sustained his burden of showing that his injury was the result of an elevation risk under the Labor Law.