Fall is the number one cause of fatalities among construction workers in New York City and nationwide. Most of these fatalities are preventable and are the result of negligence. In New York, the Scaffold Safety Law ensures that New York construction workers and their family are being fully protected if they are injured or killed while working on scaffolds, ladders or other similar devices. If a contractor violates this law by not providing adequate safety equipment to his workers and if as a result, a worker dies or sustains injuries, the contractor will be liable for the accident and a lawsuit can be brought against him by the construction worker or by his family.
In the case of the Hudson Tunnel project, a group of contractors consisting of the Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association, the Associated General Contractors of New York State and the General Contractors Association of New York as well as the New York Sate Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials have asked the US Transportation Secretary to replace the New York Scaffold Safety Law with a comparative negligence standard. They argue that the New York Scaffold increases their insurance cost.
The argument that the Scaffold Safety Law increases insurance cost and is a disincentive to do business is always the same argument used by contractors to get rid of their responsibilities to protect their workers from dangerous accidents however insurance companies never showed their numbers in details. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health has been advocating for insurance companies to open their books so it could be determined exactly how much more the Scaffold Safety Law does contribute to insurance cost increases.
We hope Buttigieg will align himself on the side of the workers and will not let contractors sacrifice workers safety for profit.
Location of the Hudson Tunnel Project: courtesy of Google Map