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Why is the 'Scaffold Law' important?

April signals the true birth of spring across both the Northeast and the Midwest. At this time of year, trees and flowers are beginning to bloom, birds have returned from their winter homes and people flood the streets, parks and worksites of the city in ways that are neither practical nor generally possible during the coldest months of the year.

As spring in New York finds its way into full swing, it is important for adults who are both on and off the clock to review warm weather safety issues. Parents need to prepare their children to play and swim safely outside, while employers need to ensure that their outdoor employees are fully trained and ready to safely meet the hazards of outdoor work.

Some of the workers most at risk of suffering injury or death at outdoor work sites are New York’s construction workers. Already in the month of April, at least two workers have fallen to their deaths on midtown construction sites. Falls from great heights and scaffolding accidents are two of the most hazardous risks that New York construction workers regularly face.

It is for this reason that New York’s “Scaffold Law” is so important. This regulation, also known as Local Law 240, allows injured construction workers and the families of construction workers who are killed on the job to hold the companies that hired these workers accountable for any negligence on their part.

Many employers oppose the law because they understandably do not want to be sued in the event that their workers have an accident. However, the ability to sue negligent employers for construction accidents is critical for workers who have already been injured and serves as inspiration for employers all over the city to ensure that their worksites are safe.

Source: New York Daily News, “When lawsuits protect hardhats,” Errol Louis, April 17, 2014

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