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New York City's Scaffold Law protects workers

Big business interests have for years tried to undermine the federal government's Occupational Health and Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. A local target by construction companies is New York's Scaffold Law. The goal is always the same, the opponents of safety regulations say: cut government red tape and save the taxpayers money.

The reality is that the goal is to save the construction industry (and other industries) untold billions by loosening worker and environmental protections. In the case of the Scaffold Law, its gutting would expose workers injured on improperly secured or constructed scaffolding to legal loopholes through would negligent developers and construction companies could run for financial safety.

According to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Scaffold Law opponents are constantly complaining that the statute prevents developers from undertaking new projects and that the law forfeits New York construction worker jobs to other communities.

Of course, the reality is that the New York City construction business goes through boom and bust cycles along with the rest of America. And there is simply no doubting that our city continues to be a premier destination in the worlds of finance, media, arts, information technology, health care, insurance and pharmaceuticals. As envious as neighboring communities might be, and as hard as they try to lure commerce from us, the world knows that major businesses want and need a New York City address.

Our Scaffold Law has been in place for generations, forcing builders to do all they can to ensure worker safety. For those workers injured in falls or other scaffolding mishaps, a discussion with an experienced attorney is the first step in pursuit of full and fair compensation under the law.

Source: NYSTLA.org, "Fact and fiction on construction industry employment and New York's Scaffold Law," accessed August 26, 2014

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