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Scaffold Law helps keep workers safe

Workers should never be asked to put their lives on the line on the job without the right tools and safety equipment. Incredibly, it happens in the construction industry every day.

I was working in Tonawanda putting up scaffolding for a construction job. A steel plank from the dismantled scaffolding fell 30 feet, hit me in the head and neck and knocked me to the floor. I had multiple surgeries to insert rods and screws into my spine.

Thankfully, New York has the Scaffold Law, which holds contractors and owners responsible if they fail to follow common-sense safety rules that cause worker injuries. In my case, no one received safety training for scaffold work, and there was a rush to get the job done quickly, even if it meant ignoring safety protocols. Only after my injury did my co-workers receive the safety training we should have all been given in the first place.

It’s disgusting, but some lobbyists are putting profits over people and are trying to weaken the Scaffold Law in Albany, saying that safety is too expensive. Instead of investing in safety equipment and training to prevent accidents like mine, they’re spending money hiring lobbyists to eliminate worker protections. We can’t turn our backs on workers who put their lives on the line to build our state. There’s only one responsible thing to do – keep the scaffold Law and keep our workers safe.

Tim Swedenhjelm

East Concord