The title of this post is the opening sentence from a guest viewpoint published in the Ithaca Journal on March 14, 2014 – Scaffold Law Hurts Contractors, Economy, by Brad Walters. It goes on to say …
A recent Cornell study exposes the ugly truth about New York’s antiquated Section 240 of the Labor Law, more commonly known as the scaffold law. The law was created in 1885 and has remained unchanged over the years, in spite of greatly improved materials, methods, safety procedures and safety equipment. The law was put into effect in the days when contractors used wooden scaffolding to build high-rise buildings in New York City. Today, no other state in the country has such a law. In fact, the Cornell study suggests there is no other law like it on the planet.
The last state in the United States to have such a law was Illinois, and lawmakers there abolished it in 1995. So what were the results when Illinois put an end to the law? A study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Illinois from 1995 to 2006 found that construction fatalities fell from 1.7 per one hundred thousand to -2 per 100,000 workers, and construction injuries fell from 2.7 per hundred workers to -0.7 per 100 workers. That same study found that statewide construction jobs increased from roughly 220,000 annually to a high of almost 280,000 jobs. continued – download full article (pdf)
The full Cornell study is available to download here:
The Costs of Labor Law 240 on New York’s Economy and Public Infrastructure
Final Report to New York Civil Justice Institute
December 31, 2013