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New York’s Scaffold Law: An Amendment or a Gut?

Construction Scaffold WorkersConstruction workers risk their lives every day when they put on their hard hats and go to work. Even though there are various federal, state and municipal regulations designed to keep construction sites safe, there are thousands of construction site injuries and deaths each year. Although no amount of money can
make the pain and injuries go away, injured construction workers can find some relief in New York’s special Scaffold Law. But a proposed amendment places this law, which was enacted in the 19th century, in jeopardy.

NY’s Scaffold Law

New York is the only state that still imposes strict liability on contractors and property owners who fail to comply with state worker safety laws, even if the worker could be considered responsible. New York’s Scaffold Law, section 240(1) of the State Labor Law, requires contractors or property owners to provide workers with equipment to prevent falls or injuries caused by falling objects, including scaffolding, ropes, ladders and pulleys.

This law is specifically designed to give some justice and relief to injured construction workers whose injuries could have been prevented had the contractor or property owner taken simple safety measures.

According to a report published by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, 90 percent of construction site injuries and deaths in the past decade involved some negligence by the employer to provide safety measures on the construction site.

Although committees, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), investigate workplace accidents and levy finds when they find violations, these potential fines are simply not enough to deter employers from unsafe practices.

We shouldn’t be talking about weakening a law that is designed to make construction sites safe; we should be talking about making the workplace even safer for New York’s construction workers.

Safety “Short Cuts”

It just doesn’t make sense that lobbyists for insurance and construction companies are repetitively pushing for reforms to eliminate or create safety “short cuts” to New York’s Scaffold Law.

The bill that is currently before the New York legislature would replace the law’s absolute liability standard with a comparative negligence standard, which apportions negligence with the actions of each party involved. This could mean that in some lawsuits blame may even be shifted to the victim of the accident if the employer chooses to argue that he or she was n’t cautious.

We Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction site accident, you need to hire a New York construction injury attorney to protect your legal rights. The attorneys at Gersowitz, Libo & Korek P.C. have the necessary experience, knowledge and resources to aggressively fight to get you the compensation that you deserve.

For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our New York construction accident attorneys, please call 1-800-529-9997.

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