Volume 42, Issue 3 - March 2007

News Now
New York State Senate Seeks to Have State’s Scaffold Law Repealed

Republicans in the New York State Senate are seeking a law change that may reduce the liability owners, contractors and subcontractors face if their workers are hurt in a scaffolding accident.

The measure, filed as part of a February 13 bill to reform the state’s workers compensation system, addresses the state’s Scaffold Law. The regulation’s current language makes owners, contractors and subcontractors 100-percent liable for scaffold injuries, regardless of worksite safety programs and/or employee negligence.

If the new bill passes, employers will no longer be held liable if workers who are injured did not use the safety equipment they were provided or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.

“The scaffold law is one of the main reasons that contractors in New York are finding it much more difficult, if not impossible, to buy affordable insurance. Several carriers have left the New York market as a result,” says Demetrios G. “Jim” Stathopouls, CEO of Ajay Glass in Manchester, N.Y. “Companies that have good safety policies and excellent safety records are unduly penalized under this law. It does not take into account at all whether the employee was negligent in his responsibilities to the employer in following safety procedures. It is unfair and must be changed to allow contractors to compete in New York.”

Peter Hildreth of Hildreth Glass in Port Jefferson, N.Y., welcomes the change.

“We have employees who work on scaffolding and we have guidelines and rules they have to follow to be safe on the scaffolding,” Hildreth says. “But some workers do not always follow those precautions and rules. We have foremen on the job site, but it’s still hard to watch everyone at once. Any law that puts that liability on the business owner is not a good thing.” 

Businesses for a Better New York, which represents several companies in the construction industry, including subcontractors, had also filed suit against the State of New York in federal court over the Scaffold Law in hopes of seeing it repealed. PPG 

Puts Auto Business on the Block
PPG Industries in Pittsburgh enlisted Goldman Sachs to explore the sale of its automotive OEM glass and automotive replacement glass and services businesses, including LYNX Service LLC. The company says this is just a preliminary move and it’s considering other options for the segment, including acquisitions, restructuring and strategic alliances.“We have a responsibility to our shareholders to evaluate our portfolio and make sure we’re creating shareholder value,” says Jack Maurer, spokesman for the company. “It has not been meeting the performance standards that we’ve set for businesses in our portfolio.” He adds that there is no real timeline for a sale or any other decision. 

ASC Z97.1 Committee Considers Scope Revisions
A ballot of the ASC Z97.1 ANSI Accredited Standards Committee to modify the scope of the ANSI Z97.1 standard passed. A scope task group proposed two changes to the committee that were included on a recent ballot. The first was for the addition of retention characteristics into the body of the standard. The second was for the elimination of fire-resistant wired glass under the standard’s “Class C” safety glazing designation.

“In order to resolve a negative from the [standard’s] last round of [balloting] we stated we would include retention in this revision and the standard states that it is a safety glazing standard,” says Julie Schimmelpenningh, ASC Z97.1 secretary. “However, Class C is indicated as not being considered a safety glazing classification.” 

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