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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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PROPOSAL TO PREEMPT NEW YORK’S NOTORIOUS SCAFFOLD LAW OFFERS GOOD START TO IMPROVING CONSTRUCTION SAFETY IN THE EMPIRE STATE

September 19, 2017

Construction Official Says Congressman Faso’s Bill Will Also Lower Costs of Federally-Funded Projects in New York By Preempting State’s Unique and Dated Absolute Liability Standard

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, released the following statement in reaction to Congressman John Faso’s introduction of legislation to preempt New York state’s so-called Scaffold Law on federally funded projects:

“Construction safety throughout New York has long been undermined by the state’s notorious Scaffold Law. This measure, which is unique to New York, effectively places blame on all construction falls on construction site owners and contractors, regardless of the cause of the fall. Being unable to understand why falls are occurring – whether through a lack of proper training, failure on an employee’s part to follow safety procedures or intoxication – hampers the industry’s ability to learn from and prevent future falls.

“Moreover, the Scaffold Law needlessly drives up the cost of federally funded projects in the state. That is because taxpayers are forced to cover the additional costs of insuring projects in an environment where the government and its contractors are automatically held liable for every fall. This extra cost means New Yorkers receive fewer infrastructure upgrades, per federal dollar invested, than in comparable markets.

“Congressman Faso’s proposal to preempt New York’s Scaffold Law on federally funded projects will provoke needed debate about the best ways to bring the state’s construction safety program into the twenty-first century and to lower the cost of construction projects in the state.

“Moving forward, the Associated General Contractors of America is committed to working with the Congressman and his colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as with officials in Albany, to find the most effective possible way to modernize the state’s laws so that all parties involved with construction can share a collective responsibility for improving workplace safety.”

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