Scaffold Law Reform News
Buffalo Law Journal Editor's Notebook: The "Other" Side of the Scaffold Law
- Published on 22 April 2015
In today's Buffalo Law Journal, Editor Michael Petro revisits the Scaffold Law, this time taking a look at the arguments in favor of reform.
There are two sides to every story. I was reminded of that by some readers of a Notebook I wrote in the March 23 edition, which provided the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney’s side regarding the Scaffold Law.
It garnered quite the response from those defending general contractors and site owners who, as a result of the law, are held completely liable for construction accidents that occur from a height or elevation at worksites. I also heard from insurance carriers that bear the brunt of large payouts to plaintiffs and their attorneys after an accident.
The state labor law, which includes the Scaffold Law, doesn’t so much make mention of absolute liability; it’s been the courts that have interpreted it in that manner. Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, said an argument can be made that the absolute liability part was not even the original intent of the legislation.
Albany Business Review Cover Story: Gilded Age Law Evades Reform
- Published on 17 April 2015
Today's Albany Business Review's cover story takes a look at the high costs of the Scaffold Law on local businesses and its impact on our competitiveness.
Annemarie Mitchell has lost plenty of business to crews from Vermont -- subcontractors hired to cross the border to work construction jobs in New York.
Mitchell has lost business because she has to charge more to install timber frames in homes and buildings than her competitors in Vermont. The reason: Mitchell's Saratoga County company, Legacy Timber Frames, has higher insurance bills and follows New York’s Scaffold Law, which was enacted in the 1880s to protect workers building New York City skyscrapers.
Letter: Scaffold Law Drives up Housing Costs
- Published on 09 March 2015
In today's Buffalo News, Jolie Milstein, CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and Bruce Levine, founder of 3d Development Group, write that the Scaffold Law drives significant costs which hinder the constuction of affordable housing.
The severity of the housing crisis in New York State means that every dollar must be spent as efficiently as possible to produce the highest number of quality, affordable homes.
The archaic Scaffold Law – a remnant of the 1800s – is counterproductive since it drives up insurance costs on affordable housing projects in excess of million of dollars, and makes these important projects harder to build. The Scaffold Law has also reduced the number of carriers that will insure affordable housing projects, and has made it nearly impossible for small firms to find coverage.