New York State Labor Law sections 240/241 – better known as the Scaffold Law – presents a serious threat to the construction and development industries throughout the State. The statute imposes absolute liability for gravity-related injuries that occur on construction work sites on the contractors and property owners – regardless of the circumstances. This takes away incentives for owners and contractors to ensure safety. Workers can be entirely at fault – in some cases drunk or purposely ignoring prescribed safety regulations and the full liability is still on the contractors and owners. The Scaffold Law has led to skyrocketing insurance costs, leaving many operators on the verge of bankruptcy, costing thousands of jobs and further damaging New York’s already fragile economy. Most insurers have also pulled out of the New York market – and now major public agencies may not be able to get liability insurance at all – leading to less classrooms, hospitals, and other needed public infrastructure.
New York is the only state in the U.S. with this type of law on the books. Nobody is asking to repeal the Scaffold Law entirely. We are just asking to get New York in line with every other state who reformed their versions of the Law which keeps job sites safer and construction costs lower.