Chenango County calls for “Scaffold Law” reform

CHENANGO COUNTY – The Chenango County Board of Supervisors is getting on board with a statewide movement to modify or repeal a law that was originally put in place to protect construction workers.

The board unanimously passed a resolution last week in support of the repeal or reform of New York Labor Law sections 240 and 241, colloquially known as the “Scaffold Law.”

Enacted in 1885 and unchanged ever since, the Scaffold Law imposes “absolute liability” on employers and owners of buildings if a worker falls from any height. This has been problematic for employers as any contributing fault of an injured worker, such as failure to use provided safety equipment or gross negligence, is irrelevant when the claim goes to court.

Now 130 years after the law was put on the books, opponents argue it’s not only a burden to employers who front the cost of expensive lawsuits and rising insurance premiums, but it’s also deterring private developers from investing in infrastructure in New York.

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