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Labor study highlights safety issues on construction sites

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Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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Worker safety is at risk and there aren't enough inspections of job sites, especially construction job sites. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health, an organization with strong alliances to local labor groups.

The report "Fatal Falls: The Downside of the Construction Boom" says the inspections which occur find safety problems. In the case of construction sites inspectors found violations in 83 percent of the sites.

At the same time, the average penalty was just under $2,000. The report says that's not a deterrent.

Western New York Area Labor Federation President Richard Lipsitz says there's another push on in Albany to dump a key safety law.

"The scaffold safety law says the property owners and general contractors who control the work site and are in the best position to oversee safety are responsible for providing protection for workers. This isn't that complicated," Lipsitz said. 

"If they fail to do so and as a result someone is killed or injured, the scaffold safety law holds them responsible and we think this is correct and is the proper way."

Getting rid of the scaffold law is one of the top priorities for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership's 2016 agenda. Congress has recently raised the maximum possible penalties for safety failures, to take effect in August, the first raise in decades.