Will Proposed New York Scaffold Law Amendment Compromise Construction Worker Safety?

According to the New York Labor Law sections 240 and 241 also known as the Scaffold Law, contractors and building owners are required to provide the proper safety equipment and training for workers performing duties at elevated heights. Failure to do so, if proven, means they can be held 100% liable for damages and injuries to workers as a result. Peter Herr gives a detailed report on the Politicsny website regarding New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan and Assemblyman Joe Morelle’s move toward legislation to amend the bill, which would limit the amount of liability that building owners and contractors’ insurance would have to pay out. The article states that “Proponents of the amendment say this will lower insurance rates; opponents claim that by allowing owners and contractors this ability to limit liability, it will also allow them to take safety shortcuts in the interest of cost savings on job sites.” The article sites examples of several construction accident lawsuits that have been provided to illustrate the negative effects of the law. Argument against the change in the law is that New York construction workers could clearly be at higher risk to be involved in construction accidents. Herr reports that “The total liability element is the meat of the law and is what drives owners to demand high safety standards from the contractors they chose. ”

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Okun, Oddo & Babat is a New York City law firm specializing in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. We also offer high quality representation in all types of criminal and commercial matters.