Volume 42, Issue 3 - March 2007
New York State Senate Seeks to Have State’s Scaffold Law Repealed
Republicans in the New York State Senate are seeking a law change that may reduce the liability owners, contractors and subcontractors face if their workers are hurt in a scaffolding accident.
The measure, filed as part of a February 13 bill to reform the state’s workers compensation system, addresses the state’s Scaffold Law. The regulation’s current language makes owners, contractors and subcontractors 100-percent liable for scaffold injuries, regardless of worksite safety programs and/or employee negligence.
If the new bill passes, employers will no longer be held liable if workers who are injured did not use the safety equipment they were provided or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.
“The scaffold law is one of the main reasons that contractors in New York are finding it much more difficult, if not impossible, to buy affordable insurance. Several carriers have left the New York market as a result,” says Demetrios G. “Jim” Stathopouls, CEO of Ajay Glass in Manchester, N.Y. “Companies that have good safety policies and excellent safety records are unduly penalized under this law. It does not take into account at all whether the employee was negligent in his responsibilities to the employer in following safety procedures. It is unfair and must be changed to allow contractors to compete in New York.”
Peter Hildreth of Hildreth Glass in Port Jefferson, N.Y., welcomes the change.
“We have employees who work on scaffolding and we have guidelines and rules they have to follow to be safe on the scaffolding,” Hildreth says. “But some workers do not always follow those precautions and rules. We have foremen on the job site, but it’s still hard to watch everyone at once. Any law that puts that liability on the business owner is not a good thing.”
Businesses for a Better New York, which represents several companies in the construction industry, including subcontractors, had also filed suit against the State of New York in federal court over the Scaffold Law in hopes of seeing it repealed. PPG
Puts Auto Business on the Block
ASC Z97.1 Committee Considers Scope Revisions
“In order to resolve a negative from the [standard’s] last round of [balloting] we stated we would include retention in this revision and the standard states that it is a safety glazing standard,” says Julie Schimmelpenningh, ASC Z97.1 secretary. “However, Class C is indicated as not being considered a safety glazing classification.”