Times Union: Letter: Scaffold Law helps keep construction sites safe
The recent letter by Mike Elmendorf, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, lobbying for a so-called “moratorium” on the Scaffold Law is a cynical attempt to boost profits by gutting safety protections for construction workers (“Place a moratorium on Scaffold Law standard,” Feb. 8).
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health recently published findings on worksite safety based on the most-recent full year of available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New York City Department of Buildings.
New York state had a construction fatality rate 60 percent higher than New York City, which has instituted training requirements and oversight methods to improve safety. Shockingly, while fatalities in New York state continue to occur, OSHA inspections are decreasing as are the fines that OSHA imposes on bad actors.
If the Associated General Contractors is truly concerned about the safety of the construction workers who do the hard work that earns its members substantial profits, why does it remain silent about the severe need for funding to hire more OSHA inspectors?
The bottom line is that too many contractors still are not looking out for their workers. The Scaffold Law holds those bad actors accountable when a worker is killed or maimed as a result.
Not only do we need to maintain the Scaffold Law, we need to demand greater investment in training, worksite monitoring and prosecution of criminal negligence at construction projects in our state.
New York City
Executive Director, New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
Click here to read the letter in the Times Union.