The Daily Caller has published an op-ed written by NFIB/NY state director Mike Durant that explains the need for a bill introduced by Rep. John Faso that would exempt federally funded construction projects from Scaffold Law liability:
Congressman John Faso, a Republican representing New York’s 19th district, has taken a bold step and introduced legislation aimed at overriding one of his home state’s own laws. Due to the New York legislature’s cozy relationship with certain special interests, namely the personal injury trial bar, this move is necessary and overdue.
The statute in question, known as the “Scaffold Law,” is an archaic construction site liability regulation that places full blame for certain work-site injuries on the property owner – including publicly funded entities like the Metropolitan Transit Authority or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – and the general contractor, regardless of the contributing fault of the injured employee. This means that owners and contractors are held liable even if they had nothing to do with the accident.
The consequence of this expansive, so-called “absolute liability” standard, is that construction insurance for the small businesses I represent costs more in New York than anywhere else in the country. No other state has a law like this and its existence drives up the cost of every construction project in the state. Ultimately, every sector suffers and New York is falling behind. It costs more to build affordable housing, maintain roads, build schools, repair bridges or tunnels, and own a small business. The fact is, if a small business owner needs to hire someone to get on a ladder to alter or repair something, they take on an enormous risk.
Read the full op-ed here.