State needs to abolish outdated Scaffold Law
As a partner in a small, third-generation family business, I was pleased to see The News editorial about the “misbegotten Scaffold Law.” I was dismayed a few days later to read the response from Richard W. Hurd of Cornell University. While he states that the methodology used to make the case against the Scaffold Law “fails to control for relevant institutional influences,” nowhere is there any mention that a contractor or property owner is legally deemed to be at fault, allowing for no defense in a court case.
While no reasonable person wants to see a worker injured or killed, that goal should not and cannot override the concept of personal responsibility of the worker. The idea that a property owner can hire a contractor and then be held liable for the actions, no matter how unreasonable, is madness.
We need good laws and practices to ensure that workers are protected; this is something we all can agree on. And while Hurd may be 100 percent correct with his summary of procedures, the conclusion that the 1885 law needs to remain on the books in 2014 seems to be erroneous. It boggles the mind to think that an individual can be 100 percent liable for something he has no control over.