On April 9, 2009, a man allegedly sustained injuries when he slipped and fell backward on asphalt/debris while attempting to remove a sixteen foot long wooden form with a pick at a construction project located in West Hempstead, New York. The project involved installation of drainage systems, curbing, replacement of asphalt shoulders and other related work. The man testified that the accident occurred while he was attempting to remove a series of wooden forms, approximately sixteen feet long and six inches wide, into which concrete had been poured. When he placed the pick under one of the forms and pulled back on the pick to lever said form, he slipped and landed on the ground. According to his testimony, on the day before the accident, the general contractor had put down temporary asphalt in the area where the accident occurred and there were pieces of asphalt of different sizes strewn around on the ground.
The accused and third-party complainant was the general contractor on the project and the man’s employer, a third-party opponent was the subcontractor hired by the general contractor to provide labor and materials as and for certain concrete and other related work on the project, including demolition of existing curbs and installation of new curbs. A Purchase Order, generated by the subcontractor and executed by the general contractor reflects the parties’ arrangement. The Purchase Order provides that the subcontractor agrees to save, hold harmless and indemnify the general contractor on account of all expense, liability or payment by damage suffered through any act of the general contractor and their subcontractors. The subcontractor further agrees to pay for all attorneys’ fees, costs and related disbursements incurred by the general contractor.
The complainant man commenced an action against the general contractor alleging negligence and violation of the Labor Law in its failure to provide him with a safe workplace, to properly supervise and oversee the job site and to provide proper safeguards.