Opinion: Study Suggesting N.Y. Scaffold Law Causes Injuries Misuses Statistical Techniques

March 15, 2014

  • March 16, 2014 at 5:45 pm
    Pat Sledge says:
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    Mr. Hurd, the issue is not liability, rather it is absolute liability. Fair liability creates fair incentives, the absolute liability of Labor Law 240 creates perverse incentives. Fair liability is the way it is done in every other state, and the reason why no other state is experiencing the current construction insurance crisis New York is experiencing.

  • March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm
    Looking for change says:
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    Thank you for your opinion, unfortunately although you are critical of the study, you reach a conclusion that the law should stand as is, however you offer nothing to support this. It would be more beneficial if you were to provide some back ground on why it should remain in place, as we are all curious to see the benefit. When the construction community has taken great strides in safety and loss control, all with the main focus of providing a safe workplace, it is concerning when you offer a conclusion which missed the most important part of the need for change. Where the proper safety training and tools and preplannigng are provided to the worker and the worker choses to disregard those safety devices and put himself in harms way, is it fair to hold the company who was trying to keep you safe absolutely liable?

  • March 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm
    Brian Bixby says:
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    Just a little background on Mr. Hurd. This should explain the bias he may be bringing to the table as he carries the torch for his beloved union brethren.

    From the Cornell ILR Website.

    “Richard Hurd : Biography

    Richard W. Hurd is Associate Dean for External Relations and Professor of Labor Studies. A leading specialist on trade union administration and strategy, and on the unionization of professional workers, he has been quoted widely in the national and international print and broadcast media on various labor issues. He is co-editor of the International Handbook on Labour Unions: Responses to Neoliberalism (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 2011), Rekindling the Movement (Cornell University ILR Press, 2001), Organizing to Win (Cornell University ILR Press, 1998) and Restoring the Promise of American Labor Law (ILR Press, 1994). He has published dozens of papers in books and professional journals, including “First Contract Arbitration and the Employee Free Choice Act: Multi-jurisdictional Evidence from Canada” [with Sara Slinn, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations 2011], “Obama and the US Labor Movement” [Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research 2009], “Neutrality Agreements: Innovative, Controversial and Labor’s Hope for the Future” [New Labor Forum 2008], and “U.S. Labor 2006: Strategic Developments Across the Divide” [Journal of Labor Research 2007]. His articles on union strategy have been published in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Korea, Australia, Belgium, Canada and the U.S. Professor Hurd works closely with labor organizations and professional associations, offering technical assistance on strategic issues including organizational change, internal and external organizing, and leadership development. His clients have included the Canadian Labour Congress, AFL-CIO Office of the President, United Food and Commercial Workers, American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the American Guild of Musical Artists. Hurd earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Vanderbilt University, and is a former Brookings Institution Economic Policy Fellow.”

  • March 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm
    Rusty says:
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    I will repeat the objections I have to this law which I stated in response to another article on this issue. First, the passage of Workers Compensation laws, which are based upon the concept of employer liability for all job-related injuries, took the matter out of the courts and provided a means of warding benefits to injured workers without having to go to court. Why height-related injuries remained on the books here is anyone’s guess, except that unions and the legal profession may have lobbied for it back then. Think of it, though, why should those injuries be accorded a second remedy than other job-related injuries? NY is the only state left with this law, which became obsolete the day the Workers Compensation Law was passed. Also, in lieu of completely repealing the law, the alternative is to at least amend the law from a strict liability standard to a negligence standard just like other tort laws. That issue constitutes my second objection which is that the current law denies the employer or general contractor the right of defense in court, which I believe is unconstitutional.



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