It seems that every year without fail, construction industry lobbyists and insurers tee up to rail against New York Labor Law 240, also called the Scaffold Law. But amidst calls for it to be repealed, this law has stood strong since 1885.
So what exactly does this law do? And why is it so important for our city’s workforce?
New York’s unique safety law puts workers first
New York boasts beautiful architecture and an iconic skyline, but those things come at a price. Such tall structures require construction workers, roofers and other laborers to perform their jobs at dizzying heights, often at great risk to their own safety. That puts them at a higher risk of serious work-related injuries and death.
The Scaffold Law was put into place to protect these workers. It holds employers and contractors strictly liable for any safety violations or dangerous conditions that result in injury or death to employees.
Why does it matter?
The Scaffold Law provides essential protections for workers. This law makes it easier for injured workers and the families of those who have died on the job to collect the benefits they need for lost wages, medical expenses and other damages.
Just as importantly, it motivates building companies to put safety over profits. When employers know that they’re financially responsible for injuries caused by their own negligence, they are less likely to cut corners with safety.