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ON CAUSATION Labor Law – Plaintiff laborer who is signaling excavator operator placing sewer pipes into steel trench box suffers crush injuries to hand when struck by bucket at end of boom – Plaintiff contends that defendant provided inadequate safety protection and procedures.

Richmond County, NY

The plaintiff contended that as he was in a trench box, signaling another worker who was operating an excavator machine leveling the trench in order to lay his hand, was crushed by the bucket. The plaintiff contended there were violations of Sec. 23 of the industrial code giving rise to liability under Labor Law Sec. ________ (6). The plaintiff’s safety expert maintained that the signaling procedures were faulty and that a miscommunication was very likely. The plaintiff’s expert further contended that the bracing of the trench box did not give adequate protection.

The defendant countered that its procedures were reasonable and adequate for the operation of the work being performed and not in violation of the Industrial Code. Further, the defendant contended that the plaintiff should have moved back a few feet behind protective crossbeams and abutting trench, which provided proper protection and that the signaling procedure was also proper. The defendant demonstrated that the plaintiff had been doing the same job in this manner with same crew for six months prior to the accident with no incident.The jury found that Sec. ________ (6) was violated, but that such violation was not a substantial factor in the happening of the incident.

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