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State laws | Construction

Safety coalition: ‘Scaffold Law’ study is flawed

April 18, 2014

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New York – A recent study that questioned the usefulness of New York state’s “Scaffold Law” is flawed, according to a new report from a worker safety advocacy coalition.

In December, a study from State University of New York’s Rockefeller Institute of Government concluded that New York’s Labor Law 240 – which imposes a strict liability on employers for workplace injuries at height – drives up the cost of business without improving worker safety.

But an April 17 report from the Center for Popular Democracy and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health called the Rockefeller study “biased,” noting that the study was paid for by the New York Civil Justice Institute, a group created by an alliance that works on behalf of employer and industry interests.

The Rockefeller study confused correlation with causation, the two worker safety advocacy groups say, by claiming differences between worker injury rates in construction and non-construction industries in New York and elsewhere are entirely due to the Scaffold Law.

CPD and NYCOSH are partners in a newly launched Scaffold Safety Coalition, a group of workers, advocates and other organizations that have joined to defend the state’s Scaffold Law.