In today’s Long Island Newsday, LRANY Executive Director Tom Stebbins highlights how the Scaffold Law’s standard of absolute liability works against worker safety.
The scaffold law holds contractors and property owners 100 percent liable, even if they were only 1 percent at fault. My organization, and many others — including the New York State School Boards Association, Habitat for Humanity and the New York State Conference of Mayors — seek to reform the law to make liability proportional to fault. This is how it is done in every other state and every other aspect of our civil justice system.
By skewing liability entirely to one party, the scaffold law creates perverse safety incentives. Employers are not incentivized because they are guilty under nearly any circumstance, and employees are not incentivized because they cannot be held accountable.