FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM OCTOBER 17, 2019 • EDUCATION • THE QUEENS COURIER 55
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THE CREAKY LADDER
Q: I was an electrical foreman, checking the 12-feet tall outdoor light poles at a large arena, using
one of the arena’s eight-foot wooden A-frame ladders. Sometimes I would simply touch a bulb and give it a
little tightening. At other times, I would need to fix a socket, spring, clip or other part.
At each pole, I would set the ladder up, push the spread bars and lock them in place. I would then
climb the ladder, do my job, descend the ladder and bring it with me to the next pole. Maybe while I was
twisting a globe to remove it, the ladder cracked, and I fell to the ground. My accident report indicates that I
was on a ladder changing globes on light poles, when the ladder snapped.
A: To the extent that you were engaged in repairs, rather than replacement in the course of normal
wear and tear, then your attorney may choose to proceed under section 240(1) of the Labor Law, which can
require an owner, among others, to furnish or erect devices that will give you proper protection. The statute
applies only to “erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing” – but not to routine
You may have an even stronger case under section 241(6) of the Labor Law, as clarified by section
23-1.4(b)(13) of the Industrial Code. That is, the owner had a nondelegable duty of reasonable care to provide
reasonable and adequate protection and safety in the “construction, erection, alteration, repair, maintenance,
painting or moving of buildings or other structures.” In addition, facts like yours suggest that your attorney
will proceed under section 200 of the Labor Law and under a theory of common-law negligence.
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