At a recent town hall in Port Ewen, U.S. Rep. John Faso made it clear that he intends to use his federal position to attack New York's Scaffolding Law, which he simply sees as a burden to economic growth.
The problem for construction workers, however, is that this is a major worker protection law in New York. Without it, many injured construction workers would have fewer legal options available following serious on-the-job falls. Simply put, any changes made to the Scaffolding Law for the benefit of businesses would likely be to the detriment of workers.
What is the current Scaffolding Law?
New York's Scaffolding Law is relatively straightforward. Essentially, it says that general contractors and property owners -- i.e., the individuals responsible for construction sites -- are required to provide those working at great heights with adequate safety equipment. This includes properly installed scaffolding, hoists and ladders, among other types of equipment.
Because of this law, any construction worker injured as a result of a work-related fall may be able to seek legal recourse against the general contractor or property owner. Oftentimes, this is the best -- not to mention most effective -- legal option for injured workers.
So what does Rep. Faso want to do?
While many people think it simply makes sense that those in charge of construction sites should be the ones held responsible if someone is injured while working there, Rep. Faso nevertheless wants things to change.
According a report written by a writer from the Times Herald-Record, and published on the HudsonValley.com blog, Rep. Faso recently said during a town hall that he plans to introduce legislation that will prevent federal money from being used on construction projects that abide by New York's Scaffolding Law. If passed, this would mean that various projects -- including those involving bridges, transportation or even housing -- would not be eligible for federal money if the Scaffolding Law rules were in effect.
For the sake of New York construction workers, many people hope that Rep. Faso is unsuccessful in his attempts to eliminate the state's Scaffolding Law.