The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this Labor Law 240 (1) action should have been granted. Plaintiff was injured when a heavy objected being lifted from a horizontal to a vertical position shifted momentarily. The Fourth Department found that the activity during which plaintiff was injured did not involve a risk covered by Labor Law 240 (1):
“Liability may . . . be imposed under [Labor Law § 240 (1)] only where the plaintiff’s injuries were the direct consequence of a failure to provide adequate protection against a risk arising from a physically significant elevation differential’ ” … . “Consequently, the protections of [the statute] do not encompass any and all perils that may be connected in some tangential way with the effects of gravity’ ” … . Rather, the statute “was designed to prevent those types of accidents in which the scaffold, hoist, stay, ladder or other protective device proved inadequate to shield the injured worker from harm directly flowing from the application of the force of gravity to an object or person” … .
Here, the harm to plaintiff was not “the direct consequence of a failure to provide adequate protection against a risk arising from a physically significant elevation differential” … ; rather, the submissions establish that plaintiff was injured while lifting the heavy switchgear segment when the weight thereof momentarily shifted to his side as a result of instability or a slight downward movement of half an inch on the coworker’s side … . Although plaintiff’s back injury “was tangentially related to the effects of gravity upon the [switchgear segment that] he was lifting, it was not caused by the limited type of elevation-related hazards encompassed by Labor Law § 240 (1)” … . We thus conclude that defendants established as a matter of law that plaintiff’s injuries resulted from a “routine workplace risk” of a construction site and not a “pronounced risk arising from construction work site elevation differentials” … . Horton v Board of Educ. of Campbell-Savona Cent. Sch. Dist., 2017 NY Slip Op 07806, Fourth Dept 11-9-17
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (INJURY WHILE LIFTING A HEAVY OBJECT FROM A HORIZONTAL TO A VERTICAL POSITION NOT ENCOMPASSED BY LABOR LAW 240 (1) (FOURTH DEPT)