The First Department determined that, although the brace frame and plaintiff were at the same level, the injury caused by the free-standing brace frame tipping over was covered by Labor Law 240 (1):
The brace frames … , which stood at least 12 feet tall and weighed approximately 1,500 pounds, were not connected to the excavator bucket or any other device either to hold them upright once the connector pins were removed or to lower them slowly to the ground. When plaintiff removed the last connector pin, the brace frame fell and struck him.
Contrary to defendants’ contention, this evidence establishes prima facie that the activity in which plaintiff was engaged is covered under Labor Law § 240(1). Although plaintiff and the brace frame were at the same level at the time of the accident, the work plaintiff was doing posed a substantial gravity-related risk, because the falling of the brace frame away from the formwork panel would have generated a significant amount of force … .
An engineer employed by defendant Peri Formwork Systems, Inc., the manufacturer of the formwork structure, testified that if a formwork structure was disassembled on the ground, then the brace frames had to be secured by a crane before removing them, and if the formwork structure was standing upright, then each individual component had to be secured by a crane. He said that an unsecured brace frame freestanding in the air would pose a hazard to any worker standing nearby. Encarnacion v 3361 Third Ave. Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 2019 NY Slip Op 07746, First Dept 10-29-19