In Caminito v Douglaston Dev., LLC (1st Department, January 2017) the Court was faced with determining whether an alleged storage room fell within the scope of Industrial Code (12 NYCRR) §23-1(e). This section of the code requires “work areas” to be “kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from scattered tools and materials.”
This matter involved an employee of a marble setter company who was instructed to clear out a room where many of the trades on the construction site had stored their materials and equipment. The employee was injured while clearing this room out when he tripped over a stack of metal studs which were on the floor. The defendants classified this room as a storage room whereas both the plaintiff (the employee) and the project supervisor, testified that the material in the room was to be cleared out to complete its construction.
Thus, the court found that, although the employee was not performing his job as a marble setter at the time of the injury, his activities brought him within the “ambit” of the statute.
Job site safety should always be the primary objective of everyone on a construction site and instances like this one just go to show that you never know when, where, or how an injury on a construction site may occur.