New York State Scaffold Law

Risk Radio Network Episode 4 – New York Scaffold Law

The Michaels have on Joseph Bosnack, Jr., President of the Katz Nassau Agency, Inc and Past President of the Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater New York, talk New York state labor law section 240/241 – better known as the Scaffold law.

Scaffold Law, in New York state, is a law that holds employers and property

owners fully liable when an employee becomes injured due to a gravity-related

fall while working at elevations without proper safety equipment.

And it is a law that was enacted in the 19th century.

This law is hugely impactful on the New York construction market and the New York insurance market.

We have spent quite a bit of time talking about this topic and trying to impress upon our clients and residents of the state how impactful and harmful this law is to everyone.  We are the last state in the country to have such an antiquated law.  Bottom line is – This law costs us all more money.  Insurance premiums are higher in New York State because of this law and those increased costs get passed down to all of us.  As we discuss in our podcast, projects that the city and state work on cost substantially more because of the Scaffold Law – The Tappan Zee Bridge (now known as the Mario Cuomo Bridge) cost an additional $200million more because of this law and you know who pays that additional cost? We do – The taxpayers.

Clearly this isn’t a dinner table topic of conversation but the impact on everyday people is overwhelming and unrealized.  The biggest champion of keeping this law on the books are the lawyers.  They spend a ton of money lobbying Albany to make sure this law stays put….and why?  Because the money that can be made bringing lawsuits in NYC is enormous.

So the folks up in Albany, that are sent there to represent the people of New York, are happily continuing a law that costs New Yorker’s a ton in extra costs in a city and state that is overridden with regulations and newly enacted rules – Is it a surprise that people are leaving and companies don’t want to work here?

This whole thing seems so wrong to us, and others in our industry, who have gone up to Albany to try and convince our elected officials to get rid of Labor Law 240/241.  We will continue to talk about it and hopefully, one day soon, we will get the representation that we deserve to continue building our great city.

Joseph Bosnack, Jr,  Past President of Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater New York, has this to say:

There are usually two sides, and when you have a strong constituency that’s coming after it on the side of keeping the law, it’s very hard to get it overturned. Of course, the labor unions are in favor of the law, the trial lawyers are in favor of the law, and they put up, you know, considerable opposition whenever we try to make amends or get things changed. –


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