NY’s Controversial Scaffold Safety Law Under the Spotlight

NY – The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) recently published findings on worksite safety based on the most recent full year of available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New York City Department of Buildings.

New York state had a construction fatality rate 60 percent higher than New York City, which has instituted training requirements and oversight methods to improve safety. While fatalities in New York state continue to occur, OSHA inspections are decreasing as are the fines that OSHA imposes on bad actors.

NYCOSH analyzed OSHA’s 36 investigated construction fatality citations in 2016 and found that in New York State, 94.7% of workers who died on private worksites were non-union. In New York City, 93.8% of construction workers who died on private worksites in 2016 were non-union.

NYC’s Scaffold Safety Law ensures that contractors must provide their workers with proper safety equipment while doing work at high elevations. These conditions are the most dangerous in construction work.

The Scaffold Safety Law states that when a worker doesn’t get all the necessary safety equipment and then gets injured as a result, their employer is completely responsible.

Big business and insurance companies have attempted to lobby against the Scaffold Safety Law for years, arguing that the law leads to unfair insurance premiums.

Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of NYCOSH, said, “We need to take action now to end the crisis of rising construction fatalities in New York State. These deaths are almost always preventable and could be deterred by passing sensible legislation in New York State and by protecting existing legislation, such as the Scaffold Safety Law, that protects workers.”