A New York Construction Accident Lawyer Who Represents Injured Workers Tracking Developments in Construction Accident Law.

When is a construction site safety consultant liable under the Labor Law when there is a construction accident and a worker is injured?

The New York Supreme Court took up this issue on April 8, 2010 in Gaspar v. LC Main LLC, 113198/07. The general contractor had contracted with a company, Pro Safety, to be the project safety consultant. Among other things, it had a contractual duty to daily monitor the site to identify safety hazards.

The plaintiff was injured while using a saw that he claimed had a broken blade guard.

He testified that he did not receive direction or supervision from anyone other than his employer, a subcontractor at the site.  Pro Safety did not supervise or control the work that was performed, but it did have the authority to stop the work if it posed a threat to the safety of a worker. 

The court cited Buccini v. 1568 Broadway Assoc., 250 AD2d 466 (1st Dept. 1998) for the proposition that a construction manager, who observes the work and reports safety violations to a contractor, does not become responsible for injuries arising from a construction accident that are due to a dangerous condition arising from the contractor’s negligent methods.

The court also laid out the circumstances under which a safety consultant will be liable:  (a) if it supplied safety equipment at the site; (b) directed, supervised or controlled plaintiff and his coworkers in the performance of their duties; or (c) if there is evidence that it acted negligently as the site safety consultant.

The plaintiff was out of luck on his Labor Law 200 cause of action, but the court did allow him to proceed on his 241(6) claim.

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