A recent editorial by Laura Zaepfel in the Buffalo News highlighted the impact of the scaffold law on contractors, small businesses, homeowners, and taxpayers. From the article,
“Under the Scaffold Law, contractors, employers and property owners are held 100 percent liable for any gravity-related injury of a worker,even when the worker is at fault. That may have made sense back in 1932, when ironworkers labored in shirt sleeves and worn shoes, but times have changed.
OSHA regulations have been in place since 1970; Workers’ Compensation laws have been enhanced. The safety of workers in high-risk occupations is at the forefront of our consciousness now more than ever before. In fact, new safety protocols, equipment and regulations have mitigated risks so much so that ours is the only state where a Scaffold Law still exists.
Zaepfel, the Vice President of Corporate Relations at Uniland Development Corp., stresses that the Scaffold Law impacts all New Yorkers, not just contractors and builders.
“This problem is not exclusive to contractors and developers. Homeowners take a major hit in higher costs. Residential contractors are forced to pass their insurance costs along to homeowners by increasing the price of the job. Thanks to this exorbitant insurance premium, New Yorkers who build a home or put an addition on an existing home end up paying much more than they would if the Scaffold Law were less expensive to insure against.
It’s an increased cost that hits New York State homeowners in two ways, in both the short and long terms. Short term, homeowners pay a higher price for the initial work. Long term, their increased assessment equates to higher real property taxes.
Local government and local schools also get stuck paying for the Scaffold Law. But unlike homeowners, who have to foot the bill for their contractors’ increased costs, governments and schools have an out. They pass it on to the taxpayers. Large projects, like the modernization of the Buffalo Public Schools, would be considerably less expensive if the Scaffold Law were amended.”
The full article is available here.
Find out more about Scaffold Law reform and how you can help at: