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Attack on NY’s construction “Scaffold Law” is stopped in Congress

Common sense teaches us that everyone should be able to do their job in a safe environment. This includes New York City construction workers.

Recently, New York’s well-known “Scaffold Law,” which protects countless workers in the city, was challenged, unsuccessfully, on the federal level. According to the the Times Herald-Record, a bill co-introduced in Congress by Republican John Faso, who represents upstate constituents in Sullivan and Ulster counties, had many workers and safety advocates concerned.

“Absolute liability” and injured workers

Faso, supported by a group of other New York Republicans, introduced the so-called “Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2017,” also known as H.R. 3808, which made it through the Judiciary committee but wasn’t successful on the House floor. Faso’s bill threatened to do away with “absolute liability” in personal injury and death cases related to projects that receive certain kinds of federal funding; this would have made it harder for injured workers and their families to hold negligent property owners and contractors accountable.

For generations, the “absolute liability” standard, expressed in New York’s Labor Law 240 (a.k.a. the “Scaffold Law”), has been used to protect workers who fall or are otherwise injured while working at heights. In essence, it makes property owners responsible for the safety of their job sites. To many, that’s a no-brainer.

Election results: Faso is out

Importantly, John Faso lost his first re-election bid in New York’s 19th Congressional district. He was unseated by Democrat Antonio Delgado, who will take over the seat in early 2019.

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