Big Business Interests Attempt to Repeal New York's Scaffold Law

Construction SiteAbout New York Labor Law 240

New York Labor Law 240, also known as New York's "Scaffold Law," was enacted to prevent any more unnecessary deaths in the construction industry. Since a substantial number of workers have regularly been denied access to necessary safety equipment, adequate training, and a reasonably safe work environment, lawmakers had previously decided to take combative action. In enacting the current Scaffold Law, they had subsequently agreed hold property owners and general contractors liable when their negligent actions result in the preventable injury or death of a construction worker. Although this law has made a substantial difference in the overall safety of American jobsites—especially for those who are expected to work at great heights—workplace accidents are still a very real danger.

In fact, the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that on-the-job accidents took the lives of 37 New York construction workers in 2010 alone. For this reason, the New York construction accident lawyers at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP are saddened by the news that insurance and big business interests have been pressuring the State Legislature to repeal the Scaffold Law. The newly proposed bills would shift the burden of safety from the contractor to the individual worker, which would be illogical knowing that the worker exercises no control over the safety of a worksite. In doing so, however, contractors would effectively alleviate themselves of the responsibility to keep their workers safe. For this reason, it seems like only a select few stand to gain from this bill, while thousands would be left at a severe disadvantage.

Majority of New York Construction Sites Have Safety Violations

In 2008, inspectors from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that nearly 67% of all New York construction sites had violated at least one safety regulation. Should the state's Scaffold Law be revoked, there is no telling how much more dangerous these jobsites will become. For this reason, the dedicated legal team at Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP encourages you to voice your concerns to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, as well as your State Senators and Assemblypersons. Together, we can work to defeat this bill and uphold the rights of construction workers in New York. If you are interested in learning more about the scope of this newly proposed legislation, we welcome you to review the pertinent information provided by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association—click here.

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