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Worker safety takes a back seat at construction site

In Wallace v. R.J. Pitcher, Inc., the Court of Appeals held that a catastrophically injured man could not sue the General Contractor responsible for safety on the job site because his attorneys could not prove that the unsafe work area affected a "significant" number of workers.  Wallace worked for a subcontractor installing sheet metal at the Somerset Mall when he fell through a second story floor in a common work area.  While the contractor's foreman claimed Wallace had been warned of the unsafe second story floor, Wallace claimed otherwise. The Court of Appeals dodged the question of warning by holding that since only Plaintiff and two plumbers were exposed to the dangerous floor, the general contractor had no duty to address the unsafe condition.  The Engler Supreme Court had previously limited a general contractor's duty to keep common work areas safe to those areas which are accessed by a significant number of workmen.

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