A tile setter, who occasionally did work for a general contractor, was asked by that contractor’s supervisor to inspect the tile work in a home being remodeled. He was to provide an estimate on what could be done to fix the tile work in the house. Because a carpenter was working at the front door, the tile setter attempted to make his way into the house through the garage. Unfortunately, he tripped and fell on the construction debris which was piled up there. He suffered complex fractures to both arms and sued the general contractor for failing to keep a safe job site.
The general contractor argued that it shouldn’t be held liable since the debris in the garage was so obvious. But the appellate court determined that because the contractor had invited the tile setter on the property, and because the front door was blocked by carpenters working for the contractor, then the contractor had an obligation to clear a safe path through the garage to accommodate the tile setter he was expecting.
A warning to all contractors: keep a clear path in and out of your construction site.