Court Says an Extension Cord is not Proper Hoisting Equipment

An appeals court told the City of New York that it has to give laborers doing brick work at a public school suitable materials, such as a mechanical hoist, to raise and lower buckets of cement from one level of the work site to another. The plaintiff, who worked for the contractor renovating the school building sustained career-ending lower back injuries while attempting to hoist a cement-filled bucket from the ground onto a scaffold with nothing but an extension cord tied to the bucket's handle. As he tried to pull up the bucket, which weighed upwards of 50 pounds, it kept swinging into the cross braces of the scaffold, causing the bucket to get stuck. The plaintiff had to lean out over the edge of the scaffold to get it free and then pull it up hand over hand. The work literally proved to be back breaking. The strain of it caused him to blow out several discs in his back. The reason he used an extension cord to lift the bucket was because there was no proper hoisting equipment at the work site, contrary to the requirements of the Labor Law. The City of New York argued that the plaintiff had only himself to blame for the accident, stating that no one told him to use an extension cord. But the court rejected the argument, saying that under the labor law, it is the responsibility of a general contractor and the premises owner to make sure that workers have the materials they need when performing work involving different levels, such as hoisting or the use of ladders and scaffolds. There are many regulations and special protections that apply to construction workers. If you or someone you know has a construction site accident, make sure to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about the applicable laws, such as the attorneys at Barasch & McGarry.

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