Why Scaffold Law Reform Matters to Your Small Biz

Date: January 12, 2015

Is New York open for business? Not until the Scaffold Law, a relic of 1885, is reformed, says NFIB.

New York state is open for business, the commercials and advertisements say.

But according to NFIB, and those behind ScaffoldLaw.org, a site that seeks to reform what they say costs taxpayers $785 million annually, it not as welcoming as it could be.

The Scaffold Law, they say, raises the cost of everything from insurance to building a new homes.

“NY is the only state that has a strict liability standard for gravity-related accidents, which drives up the cost of insurance, making it impossible to obtain for some contractors in the state,” says NFIB State Director Mike Durant. “NFIB/NY supports the adoption of a comparative negligence standard to allow businesses to have their day in court.”

According to ScaffoldLaw.org, “the number of Scaffold Law cases has increased by 500 percent since 1990, even though the rate of injury has decreased.”

There is a pending insurance crisis in New York, as few underwriters will write general liability coverage, especially in New York City, according to Durant. Private contractors have difficulty getting insurance and work slows as a result. Further, with the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge–and no fiscal plan in place to pay for the bridge–the state will be looking closely at ways to introduce cost savings.

The insurance on the bridge adds an estimated $200 million to $400 million to the cost of the bridge, largely due to the Scaffold Law. We anticipate there will be public and private discussions about ways to ensure worker safety while introducing fairness for construction businesses and contractors.

Below, you can watch the tale of Christine Boccia, owner of Donaldson Traditional Interiors, who discusses the devastating impact of the Scaffold Law.

Want to make your voice heard on the issue? Attend Scaffold Law Reform Lobby Day on Feb. 10, 2015.

For updates and more information on issues NFIB is focused on in 2015, visit NFIB.com/NY.

How would repeal of the Scaffold Law affect your small business?

Related Content: Small Business News | Insurance | New York

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