New York Construction Accidents Involving Stacked Materials

By Michael Joseph on June 02, 2010

As a New York construction accident attorney, I have seen numerous accidents where people are injured by materials that are blown or fall off of a construction site. It is incumbent on the construction and building management industries to take proactive steps to protect the public from inadequately stored materials. The recognition of these principles forms the basis for the construction industry practice of barricading and guarding construction loads, materials and activities, which is accurately codified in 12 N.Y.C.R.R. 23-1.18(c)(1) and 12 N.Y.C.R.R. 23-2.1(a), to prevent pedestrians and employees of trades on construction sites from sustaining personal injuries.

Our New York construction accident attorneys have won several cases involving personal injury where construction materials such as the sheet rock were not properly stacked flat on the ground, i.e., vertically, in direct violation of construction industry standards which are reflected in the Industrial Code [12 N.Y.C.R.R. 23-2.1(a)(1)], that require loads to be stacked such that they are stable under all conditions.

By stacking the materials against the exterior wall of the building, a lever function is created which meant that it took less force to move the materials it takes the greatest amount of force to move a load when it is at the horizontal, i.e., at zero degrees. As the load approaches the vertical or ninety degrees, the load becomes increasingly leveraged, therefore easier to maneuver Labor Law 200 states that all places to which this chapter applies shall be so constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to the lives, health and safety of all persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places. Labor Law 241(6) likewise protects people who are lawfully frequenting the premises.

Labor Law 241(6) imposes an obligation upon all owners to make all areas in which construction, excavation or demolition work is being performed to be constructed, shored, equipped, guarded, arranged, operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons lawfully frequenting such places. See Labor Law 241(6). 12 N.Y.C.R.R. 23-2.1(a)(1) entitled maintenance and housekeeping, storage of material or equipment, states that all building materials shall be stored in a safe and orderly manner. The provision further dictates that material piles shall be stable under all conditions and so located that they do not obstruct any passageway, walkway, stairway or other thoroughfare.

The violation of the aforementioned regulation triggers Labor Law 241(6) liability. Likewise, liability under Labor Law 200 can be imposed where a worker is injured by an unsafe manner of work or by a dangerous or defective condition at the work site. This applies to personal injury caused by unstable or improperly stacked loads.

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