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Scaffold Law helps keep workers safe

The News editorial on the Scaffold Law failed to scrutinize the group that paid more than $80,000 for the study cited: the New York Civil Justice Institute, a right-wing research group that shares offices with an industry-backed front group that has lobbied for years to gut the law.

Moreover, the study’s central claim – that the Scaffold Law actually puts Buffalo workers at higher risk of injury – is a flimsy, unfounded industry talking point. Digging into the details, the finding is based on comparing rates of injury in the construction industry to those of much safer sectors, including lines of work like “wholesale trade.”

Of course job categories affected by the Scaffold Law are more dangerous – that’s why the law was instituted in the first place, and why Buffalo’s labor movement has continued to support it.

As The News has reported, new construction is booming in Western New York. At the same time, construction remains dangerous work. We should be doing more, not less, to improve worksite safety. In reality, the law has made workers in Buffalo safer for decades. Today, our state has the fifth-lowest construction injury rate in the country. Why? Because the law provides a powerful incentive for contractors and property owners to make worksites safe.

Germain Harnden

Director, WNYCOSH

Buffalo