Times Union: LETTERS: ‘Scaffold Law crucial in N.Y.’

The latest story from the Times Union (“Outside clout in final report?” Aug. 11) is yet another nail in the coffin for the ethically and empirically flawed Scaffold Safety Law study commissioned by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance this year.

The $82,000 report was paid for by industry-backed lobbyists seeking to weaken the Scaffold Safety Law, a critically important worker safety provision that protects thousands of construction workers every day. They paid for the study, and now we know they also made sure its conclusions were the ones they wanted.

Construction remains one of the four most dangerous jobs in the country, with accidents that can result in permanent injuries or death. Workers, especially immigrants, are often pressured to work in unsafe conditions and are too intimidated to report work sites that are clearly dangerous.

Thanks to the Scaffold Safety Law, New York has one of the lowest rates of construction worker injury, and workers injured due to employee negligence are guaranteed their day in court. Weakening the safety law would let contractors who break common sense safety rules off the hook for the injuries they cause.

SUNY Albany has already distanced itself from the discredited Scaffold Law study, but because many of the study’s drafts have still not been publicly disclosed, we do not know the full extent of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance’s interference. Academic integrity demands they release all drafts of the report and let the full truth come to light.

Matt Ryan

Executive Director, ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York

New York City

ALIGNny.org

Click here to read the letter in the Albany Times-Union.