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Summary of Reforming Labor Law 240 / 241 will increase Economical Growth in New York State
By Lester Robinson
Feb 8, 2007, 16:15
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Summary of Reforming Labor Law 240 / 241 will increase Economical Growth in New York State

Enclosed is information on the topic of changing the wording for Labor Law 240 / 241. This will help the entire state economy to grow, and making us the number one state in the union again.

The following events could occur if wording within this in law was changed specific the word Absolute to Negligence

1. More jobs created in New York State

2. Lower taxes and more tax revenue

3. More people moving into to New York State

4. Less people moving out of the state

5. Better paying jobs

6. It would help to make the New York State number 1 again

7. Reduce the cost of doing Business in New York State

8. Help to Remarket New York State as Business Friendly


Sections 240 and 241 of the New York State Labor Law are commonly referred to as the "Safe Place to Work Law" or the "Scaffold Law." These sections of law establish an "absolute liability" standard on any contractor or property owner for a fall from any height by an employee. Under an absolute liability standard there is no consideration of fault or negligence and the contractor or building owner is held completely responsible, regardless of fault. This is over and above any Workers' Compensation benefit for which the injured worker may be eligible. This statute, which is the only such law remaining in the United States, pre-dates our Workers Compensation Laws and circumvents the sole remedy doctrine of workers compensation. Further, Section 240 deprives owners and contractors of their right of defense against such claims. The courts have begun to narrow the scope of this law as they recognize unfairness.

Insurance on construction projects for both owners and contractors has become increasingly expensive and the market for this coverage severely restricted. This law has just about eliminated the market for contractors' insurance in New York. Coverage that is available is prohibitively expensive. Lack of coverage is preventing construction projects from proceeding, costing New York State jobs. When coverage can be obtained, the cost of construction is needlessly driven up. In these difficult economic times, any law driving up business costs and preventing job growth needs to be carefully examined.

Many of the suits brought under Sections 240 and 241 shifted from the Employers Liability section of the workers' compensation policy to the contractual liability section of the general liability policy because of the 1996 workers compensation reforms that re­defined "grave injuries". This shift has exacerbated the affordability and availability of general liability insurance.

With New York being the only state with this type of law on the books, the State is a less desirable place for doing business because of added costs and insurance availability problems.


The absolute liability language of the Labor Law should be replaced with a more reasonable standard similar to that found in Section 241 (6) of the Labor Law which imposes liability on contractors and owners for failing to provide a safe place to work. It is imperative that a reasonable negligence standard be established and that a realistic definition of a "fall from a height" is established.

These standards would provide benefit to all parties without impairing an injured worker's right to seek recovery for a legitimate claim, while at the same time improving economic development in our State.

Talking Points on Changing Labor Law 240 /241

I. State of Affairs

Labor Law 240/241 must be reformed to help the New York State Economy to grow. This law is holding back our economy from growing, causing higher taxes, and increasing the cost of doing business in New York State. This law is also causing jobs and people to move out of this State because of the high cost of doing business. Labor Law 240 / 241 is causing General Liability Insurance for business to increase and making insurance prohibitively expensive, if it’s available at all. If only one word was changed in this law from absolute to negligence, this would cause our economy to grow like the other 49 states that do not have this law in existence.

See Attachment: 1 & 2

II. Would you like to see the New York State Economy


1. One of the problems that is holding back our states economy from growing is

an old law on the books.

2. Today a worker can go to the work place drunk, jump off the building,

sue and win.

3. The employee would win 100 percent of the time

4. This law today is causing the state of NY from not growing economically.

a. Causing the cost of building or remodeling in NYS to increase the cost by 20 to 25 percent on each job

b. Causing less buildings to be built

c. Slowing down the growth in NYS

d. Causing higher taxes

e. The law is absolute liability for all involved in the project even the owner of the property.

f. Lawyers are automatically winning in court

III. What is Labor Law 240 / 241?

1. It is called labor law 240/241 scaffold law

a. Give brief background on law

b. Law was put in force in 1885

c. Was the first New York State labor law

d. On of the first ways to protect the employee from the employer with unsafe working conditions

e. Designed to make a safe working place

Why is this law good for the workers of New York State

help protect the worker from an unsafe work place

Why is this law bad for the whole State of New York

Increase cost of doing business

What is the impact to all New York State residents

a. Causing the loss of jobs and people moving of out the state

b. Not helping the New York State Economy to Grow

c. Causing an increased cost of goods and services, and taxes in New York State

d. In the Rochester Builder exchange it has destroyed the building market

e. Not creating new jobs

f. Lawyers in New York City advertise freely for people who have gotten hurt on the job

g. Has made this one of the safest states in the union to work in

IV. What must be changed in this law

One word has to be changed in this law from absolute to negligence; this would cause our economy to grow like the other 49 states that do not have this law anymore on the books. By changing this one word this would cause our economy to grow in New York State

V. What is being done to change labor law 240/ 241?

Senator Dale Volker and Assembly Joe Morello presently have bill in front of the assembly to change this law.

Attachment 3: New York State Assembly Joseph Morelle

Attachment 4: New York State Senate Dale Volker

VI. Conclusion on the cost of Labor Law 240/ 241

a. Has increased contractors cost

b. Has many non-admitted insurance carries in the state with the wrong coverage for the business owners

c. Slow down growth

d. Loss of jobs

e. Causing people to move out of New York State

f. Higher Taxes in New York State

g. Causing our family members to leave New York State

h. NO way to fight this law in the courts, due to one word in the

law “absolute”

i. Keep New York State one of the safest places to work

VII. Achieving the Goal “What can we do the change this law”

Need to support SO3823 of Senator Dale Volkers and Assembly Joe Morello A0294 to change to law in Attachments: 3 & 4

Modified the law for the neglect for both employees and employer

To bring all the organizations and associations together to fight this law under one banner which is to modified the law and help start NYS economy to grow once again, and help reduce taxes with our new growth in the economy

Also, when they start to rebuild the world trade center, and if this law is not modified it will cost every taxpayer in the state. This will give the Terrorists a second victory with hurting our economy again.

VIII. Two areas to focus on to win this change in Labor Law 240 / 241

1. Have the general public of New York State understand the importance of changing this law

2. Have the media start to do stories on Labor Law 240 /241

This indirect cost is to every person in New York State with the extra cost of insurance in commercial liability policies that are passed on to the consumer in the end product.


Lester Robinson

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