When workers are hurt on the job, it seems an obvious answer, if the employer were at fault, the employer should be held liable. Injured workers may be able to collect workers' compensation and hold the employer accountable. But what if an employer who ignores safety rules is only penalized as much as the employer who follows them? What if there was no additional liability for not following the rules and for not creating a safe work environment? This potential inconsistency is the issue being raised by recent calls for reform to the current Scaffold Law, more formally known as Local Law 240.
Another major concern about New York's Scaffold Law as written is that it is raising the price of insurance so much that taxpayers and businesses alike are being financially penalized. For taxpayers, it costs billions of dollars. For businesses, it costs jobs and contracts numbering in the thousands. For the construction worker hurt on the job, it simply isn't fair to see no more penalty to those who run a hazardous job site than to those who run a safe one.
For construction workers who are already at risk of injury on the job, it just isn't fair to know there is no incentive for companies to follow the rules when they will not be held more liable or penalized more severely than companies that try to keep the workers safe. For these injured workers, both workers' compensation and justice may be sought.
New York attorneys who practice in workers' compensation may be able to assist in both seeking workers' compensation and in helping to see that justice is served. These attorneys keep up on the latest changes to the law and can advise as to the best options for those workers who have been injured.
Source: New York Daily News, “The city's Scaffold Law should be reformed to protect law-abiding, safety-conscious contractors in the event of a construction accident,” Louis J. Colleti, April 23, 2014