Common Good Releases New Analysis on Obsolete Scaffold Law

Today, Common Good released an analysis of New York’s obsolete, 19th-century Scaffold Law, which finds that it could add up to $300 million needlessly to the cost of the Gateway Rail Tunnel Project.

Enacted in 1885 to protect construction workers at a time when the first skyscrapers were being built and there were few laws to protect worker safety, New York is the only state where this antiquated law remains on the books. The law, Common Good’s analysis finds, significantly increases the cost of insurance on infrastructure and building projects, and it is at odds with workers’ compensation law and with principles of fairness and proportion embodied in modern tort law.

“This is a classic example of an obsolete law that needs to be removed,” argues Common Good Chair Philip K. Howard. “It’s out-of-date, exceptionally expensive, and unique to New York. Cleaning out obsolete law is essential to efficient and effective government. Every obsolete law will have special interests dedicated to preserving it, but the public interest should come first.”

Click here to read the analysis.

Click here to read its accompanying press release.

Read more about obsolete law at SimplifyGov.org.