The First Department determined defendants’ motion for summary judgment in this Labor Law 240 (1) action was properly denied. Plaintiff was attempting to remove planks covering an opening over an elevator shaft. His foot slipped on oil and he was injured trying to maintain control of a blank. Cribbing under the planks should have been secured but was not. The court held that the planks and cribbing were safety devices within the meaning of the Labor Law. And even if slipping on the oil was a proximate cause of the injury, there can be more than one proximate cause:
… [T]he cribbing and planking together constituted a safety device designed to protect the workers on the project from falling into the opening in the construction floor … . Further, it is undisputed that the cribbing was not secured at the time of plaintiff’s accident, which allowed the plank plaintiff was holding to fall into the opening, dragging plaintiff toward the opening, causing his injuries.
To the extent defendants assert that they cannot be held liable under Labor Law § 240(1), on the ground that plaintiff’s accident was not caused by the inadequacy of a safety device but rather by him slipping on an oily substance, this does not support granting summary judgment to the defendants. Although plaintiff testified that he slipped due to the oily substance on the floor, the safety device comprised of the cribbing and planking, which was installed to prevent workers from falling into the opening in the floor, could be found by a trier of fact to be a proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries. Even if the oily substance on the floor was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s accident, “[t]here may be more than one proximate cause of a workplace accident” … . Wiscovitch v Lend Lease (U.S.) Constr. LMB Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 00350, First Dept 1-18-18
LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW (PLANKS AND CRIBBING COVERING AN OPENING WERE SAFETY DEVICES WITHIN THE MEANING OF LABOR LAW 240 (1), FAILURE TO SECURE THE CRIBBING WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT (FIRST DEPT))/SAFETY DEVICES (LABOR LAW-CONSTRUCTION LAW, , PLANKS AND CRIBBING COVERING AN OPENING WERE SAFETY DEVICES WITHIN THE MEANING OF LABOR LAW 240 (1), FAILURE TO SECURE THE CRIBBING WAS A PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT (FIRST DEPT))