Buffalo News: LETTERS: Scaffold Law protects construction workers

It’s outrageous that big business groups and their lobbyists would try to use New York’s political scandals as an excuse to rush through dangerous plans to weaken critical workplace safety regulations like the Scaffold Law.

Despite their repeated exaggerations and mistruths, the Scaffold Law simply holds those who control a work site responsible if someone is injured or killed because they failed to provide the appropriate safety equipment. If they follow the law, contractors and owners cannot be held liable in court.

The Scaffold Law is a critical protection for the thousands of construction workers across New York. While construction remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, New York had the nation’s sixth-lowest construction injury rate from 2000 to 2012, thanks in part to this law. Gutting the Scaffold Law would eliminate a critical safety incentive and lead to more worker injuries and fatalities.

While proponents of weaker safety rules, like a recent letter writer, claim the law holds back our economy, construction employment in New York has risen far faster than the national average in recent decades, according to Census data.

A strong Scaffold Law is the best way we can protect the thousands of men and women who risk their lives to build New York’s infrastructure. Luckily, the law has long been supported by both parties in Albany.

Germain Harnden

Executive Director

Western New York Council on

Occupational Safety & Health

Click here to read the letter in The Buffalo News.