Letter: Now That Pot Is Legal, Fix the Scaffold Law

The Buffalo News is right to raise concerns about traffic safety and marijuana legalization in New York (“New York doesn’t need a marijuana bill that lets impaired drivers off easy” March 19). In addition, the state’s push for legalization should raise concerns about job safety on construction sites, especially here in New York, where intoxication is not considered in construction injury cases, thanks to a law known as the Scaffold Law.
The Scaffold Law holds contractors and property owners 100% liable for construction injuries even if an employee was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The courts have ruled repeatedly that the intoxication of an employee is not a defense to a claim against their employer and property owner.
We agree with The Buffalo News that the state should enact “meaningful penalties to discourage driving while impaired” as part of legalizing marijuana. In the interest of public safety, New York should also reform the Scaffold Law to allow courts to consider the negligence or intoxication of a construction worker working while impaired.
New York should keep the safety provisions of the Scaffold Law and fix the provisions that allow intoxicated workers to be a danger to themselves or others.
Tom Stebbins
Albany

About the author

Leave a Reply