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Business advocates, officials ask Cuomo to repeal Scaffold Law

Sep 30, 2020 2:45 pm
Edward McKinley is reporting for the Times Union business and local government groups wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo September 29, calling for a repeal of the Scaffold Law, a state law that has been on the books since the 19th century that puts the blame for workplace accidents exclusively on the business, holding employers and building owners to an absolute liability standard in the event a worker is injured or killed in a fall from an elevated surface. New York is the only state in the country with such a law. Labor unions and personal injury lawyers support the law, saying it is essential to keeping workers safe. Critics note the law was passed before the development of federal workplace safety standards and is now outdated. The letter was signed by 44 groups such as the New York Conference of Mayors, the Farm Bureau, construction and builders groups and the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce. The groups ask Cuomo to include a repeal of the Scaffold Law as part of his budget proposal for the next fiscal year. With the state facing a multibillion-dollar budget disaster as a result of COVID-19, this would be one way to make each dollar stretch a bit further, according to the letter. Tom O’Connor, vice president for governmental affairs for the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, said changing the law would save New York taxpayers $700 million and private businesses as much as $1.4 billion. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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