The State of New York has a strict policy of holding both employers and owners of the property liable in the event of a scaffolding accident where an employee gets injured on the job. The New York Scaffolding Law requires contractors and property owners to supply the proper protective gear workers need to prevent falls or other injuries. Should an employee fall from the scaffold or suffer any other injury, the employer is considered absolutely responsible and liable for the costs and consequences.
The law is thought to be controversial and there is a growing debate heating up. One consideration is that employees could make mistakes on the job that lead to the accident but the policy requires employers to provide a safe environment and safe work site especially in the construction trade.
Construction work is an industry where falls are the number one reason why employees die on the job. For this reason, fall-related standards and regulations require much higher standards than other ordinances. The Scaffold Law in New York gives property owners and employers a huge incentive for following the law and ensuring all workers have the right safety equipment that is inspected and functional at all time.
There is currently a bill being considered to reform the Scaffold Law which aims to delete the language which requires strict liability to the property owner and employer. The new bill seeks comparative negligence and would include an employee being held liable for their contribution to the accident.
If the bill is passed, personal injury claims will be largely affected. Those in favor of the present Scaffold Law believe the change will decrease the worker’s chances to recover compensation for their injuries and prevent assurance of a safe work environment, especially in the construction industry.