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Changes to 240 Struck Down

The proposed changes to New York City's scaffolding law have been struck down. The scaffolding laws were originally signed in 1885 and made it so that property owners and contractors were liable for "gravity related injuries" at construction sites. The proposed changes to the scaffolding law would have shifted the burden of proof onto the injured workers, in a sense. Juries would be required to consider whether injured construction workers who fell from scaffolding fell because of their own actions versus the negligence of a property owner or construction company.

When asked why the proposed changes were struck down, a spokesman for the assembly speaker stated, "it was not the right policy to further burden injured workers."

The current scaffold law for New York City is 128 years old and is currently one of the last of its kind in the United States. In other states, when a worker is partially responsible or totally responsible for their own fall, they legally bear some sort of liability for the accident. In New York City, even when workers are partially responsible for their own falls, contractors and property owners are still the ones held responsible. According to various construction companies, this law adds millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses to the industry and even costs taxpayers.

Those who advocated for a change to the city's scaffolding law said that there was a conflict of interest going on here. Sheldon Silver, the one primarily responsible for killing the amendments to the scaffolding law, allegedly has won millions in settlements by suing contractors, so of course he would shoot down a bill that would harm his practice. Some argued back, primarily contractors and unions, that by making workers more responsible for their own safety would eliminate contractors' incentives to keep a safe workplace.

The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried represents workers engaged in all areas of construction including new construction, refurbishments, brick-laying, painting, dry walling, pointing and various other labor at construction sites.

The law that was not changed is known as the "Scaffold Law" or Section 240 of the New York State Labor Law requires building owners and general contractors of buildings to provide workers with proper scaffolds, hoists, harnesses and other appropriate work site safety equipment for use when working at elevated heights. The most vital role that the law plays is to place the ultimate requirements and implementations of these laws on owners and contractors. As such, owners and contractors cannot avoid liability or shift the burden of responsibility to other workers or subcontractors when elevation related accidents occur.

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The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, P.C. - Bronx Personal Injury Attorney
Located at 5600A Broadway, Bronx, NY 10463.
Phone: (212) 964-5777.
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