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Letter: Repealing Scaffold Law would endanger workers

Repealing Scaffold Law would endanger workers

In regard to the letter, “Repealing Scaffold Law is common-sense reform,” the writer begins her baseless attack with a bold lie – that somehow a law that protects workers damages our roads. But the facts tell a different story. Our construction industry is thriving and employment is at its highest level in 24 years. Buffalo ended 2015 as the third-hottest construction market in the Northeast, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Our state has been able to attract a booming construction industry while keeping construction worker injury rates relatively low thanks to the Scaffold Safety Law. This common-sense law holds owners and general contractors accountable when they fail to provide appropriate safety equipment and a worker is tragically injured or killed, unless the worker is the sole cause of an injury (by refusing to use the available safety equipment, for example). Simply put, a contractor who follows the rules and makes sure safety is a priority won’t pay a dime. Everyone deserves to have safety and security on the job, whether he or she is sitting at a desk or hundreds of feet in the air.

New York remains a leader in worker safety and construction, and we should continue to lead. Weakening worker safety would put the lives of countless construction workers at risk, a deadly mistake New Yorkers cannot make.

Germain Harnden

Executive Director, Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health

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