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Small business groups say New York's 19th century Scaffold Law is arcane and unfair. Photo: Plains Art Museum
Small business groups say New York's 19th century Scaffold Law is arcane and unfair. Photo: Plains Art Museum

Business groups bring priorities to Albany

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Small business leaders were in Albany Wednesday for their annual day of lobbying. As the Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick reports, one of their top priorities relates to an obscure 19th century labor law dealing with scaffolding.

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The coalition of business groups, led by the National Federation of Independent Businesses says New York’s scaffolding law places an unfair burden on employers, because they are currently held liable if a worker is injured in a fall.

“You could have a drunken worker, show up at the job site, injure themselves, and that would be your fault as the employer,” says Tom Stebbins, who heads the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

He says the current law dramatically increases insurance costs for construction firms.

Business groups want to see the law changed so that they wouldn’t be held responsible if a worker is intoxicated, violates safety standards, or commits a criminal act.

Scaffold law reform was one of six priorities business groups put forward to lawmakers Wednesday.

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