Looking back at one my earlier articles, "What Type of Construction Risks Are Protected By NY Labor Law 240(1)," I realized that I forgot to highlight an important aspect to this worker safety statute. Although the law clearly protects workers who fell as the result of a gravity-related danger, it also protects those workers who are injured by falling objects. In other words, the gravity-related requirement is not limited to the worker him (or her) self; it also encompasses falling objects that cause injury.
And that rule was specifically addressed in a recent holding from a New York County trial court in Adams v. Glenman Construction. In granting the plaintiff's motion, and finding the defendants liable under Labor Law 240(1) as a matter of law, the Court held as follows:
"For an unknown [reason], the roustabout gave way and the beam free fell and hit plaintiff In his chest. Plalntiff was allegedly thrown off the ladder to the ground ...Traditionally, Labor Law 240(1) has been construed to apply to elevation-related risks involving "falling from a height or being struck by a falling object that was improperly hoisted or
inadequately secured" (Ross, 81 NY2d at 501) ... Moreover, in a falling object case, the applicability of the statute does not "depend upon whether the object has hit the worker. The relevant inquiry - one which may be answered
in the affirmative even in situations where the object does not fall on the worker - is rather whether the harm flows directly from the application of the force of gravity to the object" (id.)(emphasis supplied).