Will the Scaffold Law apply to the Gateway Tunnel project?

If you or a loved one works in the construction industry anywhere in the state, you may be familiar with the Scaffold Safety Law (or Scaffold Law). The law mandates that contractors and property owners take the necessary precautions and provide the appropriate equipment to keep construction workers safe. It also holds contractors and property owners liable for injuries that occur on construction sites.

Not surprisingly, the law has long faced opposition from powerful forces in the construction industry, as well as local governments. They argue, in part, that it adds costs to building projects.

Interest groups call on Buttigieg to “supersede” the law

These forces are now working to get the law overridden for the long-awaited Gateway Tunnel project. The tunnel, which would take rail traffic between New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River, has become a priority thanks to the federal government’s push to improve infrastructure throughout the country.

A number of groups, including the New York Conference of Mayors and several contractors’ associations, are putting pressure on U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use his authority “to supersede New York’s absolute liability standard” for the multibillion-dollar project. In a letter to Sec. Buttigieg, they also pointed out that this would save the federal government “hundreds of millions of dollars [and]…ensure that federal dollars go towards the critical work of repairing the rail infrastructure of the New York City metropolitan area, rather than inflated liability insurance costs.”

It remains to be seen whether these groups succeed in their efforts to minimize liability for serious and even fatal injuries that could be suffered as this massive project proceeds.

Construction workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, whether they’re working high atop a skyscraper or underground. If you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed, it’s essential to hold the responsible parties accountable and get the compensation that you and your family need. An experienced attorney can help you do that.

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