Is a Technical Advisor Responsible for a Work Related Injury ?
In Hader v. Coplay Cement Manufacturing Co., 410 Pa. 139, 189 A.2d 271 (1963), our Supreme Court considered SECTION 414.
In Hader, an independent contractor was hired by Coplay to unload, assemble, and install a stone crusher and to erect a building to house the stone crusher.
The plaintiff, an employee of Coplay, was injured by a fall on Coplay's property and brought suit under the general theory that Coplay failed to furnish a safe work place.
Asserting that Coplay controlled the construction, the plaintiff showed, inter alia, that Coplay employed a technical advisor to oversee the installation of the crusher.
On three occasions, this advisor showed the contractor's employees "how to set the 'wear plates,' how to set a 'precision pin' and how to see that the crusher fit." Id. at 153, 189 A.2d at 278.
In addition, this technical advisor provided advice to the contractor's employees when the contractor's foreman was not available.
The Supreme Court concluded that the technical advisor was merely acting as a "watchdog" for the owner to insure that the contractor installed the crusher and erected the housing in accordance with the plans and specifications.
The Court held:
Such status in nowise conflicted with control of the work by the contractor. ...One who employs an independent contractor may also employ a person to ascertain that the work of the independent contractor is being done according to plans and specifications and the employment of such person in no way indicates that the independent contractor is being subjected to control.
The advisor's presence on the job site on behalf of Coplay and the functions which he performed in nowise demonstrated any control by Coplay of the manner of installation of the crusher. Id. at 153-154, 189 A.2d at 278 - 279