Proposed Change to New York's Scaffolding Law Raises Heated Debate
New York legislators and the public are in a heated debate about whether absolute liability for employers is an antiquated practice or a necessary safety measure.
June 03, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New York currently holds employers and property owners strictly liable if a construction employee is injured in a scaffolding accident. New York's Scaffold Law requires contractors and property owners to provide the equipment necessary to prevent falls or injuries. If a fall or injury occurs, the employer is absolutely liable.
This controversial law has led to an interesting debate. On one side, an employee's mistakes resulting in an accident can be relevant. On the other side, public policy calls for employers to provide workers with a safe work environment, especially in the construction field.
Since falls are the leading cause of fatalities in this line of work, higher standards are applied to fall related ordinances. The Scaffold Law falls into this category and provides a strong incentive for the employers and owners to provide workers with safety equipment and work to reduce the risk of falls.
Debate in Legislature Rages On
Employers and the public are not the only ones debating this issue. Legislators are also attempting to determine the best way to provide a safe working environment for those in construction while balancing the needs of businesses.
A bill is currently under consideration to reform New York Scaffold Law and remove the legislative language requiring strict liability. Instead, the bill would apply comparative negligence. Under this theory an employee is held accountable for his or her contribution to the cause of the accident. For example, an employee may lose the ability to receive compensation to cover the cost of injuries if the employer can establish that the employee did not follow specific employer instructions.
Proponents of the current Scaffold Law argue that the proposed changes will result in an unfair decrease in the ability of workers to receive compensation for their injuries. They argue that the Scaffold Law is an essential tool to provide worker safety protection and gives employers incentives to maintain a safe work environment.
If the law passes, personal injury lawsuits may be greatly impacted. As a result, if you are injured in a scaffolding accident, it is important to contact an experienced work injury lawyer to better ensure that your legal rights and remedies are protected.
Article provided by Maurer Law Firm
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