As a contractor or owner of a construction firm you have many financial and legal considerations to make. Of course you will want to make sure that you have the right type of Manhattan Construction Insurance policy. In addition to that, you’ll want to make sure you are in compliance with all State and Federal laws, even potentially controversial measures such as the Scaffold Law.
As new engineering inventions were entering the era of the skyscraper in 1885, lawmakers in New York State created a measure that was intended to safeguard construction workers who were finding themselves facing increasing dangers while working at extreme heights. This law, known as the Scaffold Law, required employers on building sites to ensure the safety of laborers working above the ground. Since this, some form of the legislation has remained on the books despite repeated attempts to repeal it.
The reason some contractors, property owners, and even insurers have been rallying against this law is because they believe the law is antiquated and prejudicial against contractors and property owners. The concern is that the Scaffold Law basically absolves employees of responsibility for their own accidents, which incidentally leads to huge settlements.
Those you are seeking to change the law want to incorporate a standard of “comparative negligence.” This amendment- described in a state bill submitted in early 2013, would require a jury or arbiter to consider whether the liability of the defendants, and thus the amount of damages, should be reduced for cases in which the worker’s negligence or failure to follow safety procedures contributed to the accident.
In December of 2013, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo acknowledged the politically loaded atmosphere surrounding the Scaffold Law, and suggested that he was open to the possibility of modifying the law. Then, in January of this year he issued a statement saying “We need more reforms.” He continued, “Like changing the outdated scaffold law. Our unfair scaffold law drives up property taxes and rent for every New Yorker.”
While many lawmakers insist that the Scaffold Law gives contractors an incentive to make worksites safe and broadly deny critics’ claims, many officials feel that there are simply still too many accidents where workers are killed, disabled, and injured due to failures to provide adequate safety for work at extreme heights.
How do you feel about the issue? Is the Scaffold Law outdated or it is a necessary measure still today?
At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we look to the construction industry to build and renovate our homes, erect office buildings and high-rises, develop shopping centers and so much more. We understand your unique Manhattan Construction Insurance Coverage needs, and provide a complete suite of insurance products and services to the broad contractor segment. Please contact us today at (888) 990-0526 to learn more about this coverage as well as our other Manhattan Business Insurance products to meet your needs.