Crain’s: Construction deaths are reminder of need for scaffold law

To the Editor:

Your story “Majority of construction workers who died in 2015 were from Central and South America” (CrainsNewYork.com) shed light on the underreported dangers facing construction workers, and the demographics typically at risk. Construction workers should not have to risk their lives to repair our bridges and build our homes, hospitals and schools.

Instead of investing in adequate safeguards, many contractors would rather spend their money lobbying Albany to undermine worker safety, pushing for a repeal of the scaffold safety law, which provides critical protections for New York’s construction workers.

While some contractors argue that these important worker-safety provisions are the cause for high insurance rates, there’s no data to substantiate that claim. No independent mechanism exists to determine why premium rates are set as they are, and insurers are not required to disclose the real basis for their premiums.

My proposed Construction Insurance Transparency Act would require insurers to share detailed claim data with regulators. Sunshine is said to be the best disinfectant, and if injury claims are high for some companies or sectors, then these should be targeted for safety inspection, enforcement, and improvement.

Ultimately, the solution to injury claims is prevention. New York’s skyline should be built on the sweat, not the blood of the workers who raised it.

Francisco Moya

Member, New York State Assembly

Queens

Click here to read the letter in Crain’s New York Business.