The Journal News: OP-ED: Keep the Scaffold Law Strong

Lawmakers in Albany declined to water down the Scaffold Safety Law again this year and, as a construction accident survivor, I say thank goodness.

I lived and worked in New York as an ironworker for 25 years, before a 15-foot fall ended my career and nearly took my life.

I knew my way around a construction site. I had enough training and experience that I’d worked as a foreman for over 12 years, and was regularly called from job to job because of my expertise. But no level of skill could have protected me from injury when my employer didn’t provide me with a safety harness or proper fall protection.

Despite landing on wooden timbers and hitting my head on a 4×4, I’m still alive. I suffered a traumatic brain injury, post-concussive syndrome, torn shoulder and hip joints, and fractures in my spine and pelvis. Years after my accident, I’ve had spinal surgery and a hip replacement; I still do physical therapy six days a week.

I’m one of the lucky ones. There are hundreds of guys who had falls like mine and didn’t live. Construction workers are employed in one of the most dangerous, but also most important, jobs in the U.S. Construction workers in New York are at least partially protected, because of the strong Scaffold Safety Law. It means that in accidents like mine, when contractors break a common-sense safety rule, they are held liable for the negligence.

Click here to read Mark Volpe’s full Op-Ed on why New York needs to protect the Scaffold Safety Law.