In today’s Buffalo News, Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, writes that the data on safety shows that labor unions should support, not oppose, Scaffold Law reform.
One detail never mentioned in disingenuous defenses of New York’s odious Scaffold Law (“No need to forfeit safety to add jobs,” May 29 letter) is that New York is the only state that still has such a law. No other state imposes absolute liability on contractors who may have, to quote the state’s highest court: “had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s accident.” No other state still has such a standard because it is patently unfair, costs billions and makes work sites less safe.
The most frequently used argument against reform is the fraudulent claim that the law protects workers. If the Scaffold Law improved safety, shouldn’t New York lead in safety? We don’t. Shouldn’t other states have dramatically higher injury rates? They don’t. The Buffalo News even conducted its own investigation and found that “the Scaffold Law does nothing of note to make the state any safer for construction workers than other states.”
In fact, a study based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that the presence of the Scaffold Law actually increases construction injuries in New York by an estimated 667 per year.