Is the Defendant Liable for Injuries Suffered by Worker If He Retains Sufficient Control Over Safety Aspects of the Project ?

In Pasko v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 14 Ill. App. 3d 481, 302 N.E.2d 642 (1973), this court affirmed a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a negligence action. The plaintiff sought damages for injuries suffered while installing electric poles for his employer, an independent contractor, in accordance with its contract with the defendant. The contract provided that the defendant had the right to stop work if it felt that unsafe procedures were being followed and could prevent the work from being resumed until, in its opinion, proper means and methods were employed to avoid injury or property damage. The defendant also retained the right to remove unsafe equipment from the jobsite, to approve the installation of all plankings and barricades, and to approve the color of paint applied to all barricades. The jury rejected the defendant's arguments that it did not retain sufficient control over the safety aspects of the project to give rise to a duty to provide a safe working environment for the plaintiff. This court affirmed the jury's verdict on appeal, citing Weber and stating that the jury's finding of liability under section 414 of the Restatement could be justified if the jury had first determined that the defendant had retained enough control over the project to be bound to use reasonable care in exercising that control. Pasko, 14 Ill. App. 3d at 489.