The construction industry may be enjoying a boom in New York City, but job sites are more sparsely populated than ever. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 890,000 construction companies were recorded in the U.S. in 2007, but fewer than 750,000 remain active today—and the shortage of skilled workers has become a major cause of on-the-job accidents.
How Labor Shortage Puts Construction Workers at Risk of Injury
The lack of experienced construction employees does not just affect the quality of work, it removes the possibility of passing on vital skills to new workers. In the past, skilled employees would often be partnered with new hires or mentor junior workers to preserve specific skills and best practices on a job site. Unfortunately, much of the skilled workforce of the last decade has retired or moved into other industries, taking their industry knowledge with them.
As skilled workers leave the construction industry, the remaining employees are placed at increased injury risk due to:
Tradesmen are leaving the industry just as construction projects are becoming increasingly technical, removing an extra layer of security that leads to injuries in untrained workers. The shortage may force some companies to hire workers who are unfamiliar with the daily rigors of the job or common construction site hazards, making employees more likely to place themselves or others in danger. Early research has indicated that as many as 40 percent of all construction worker injuries take place within the first six months of employment.
Contractors who do not have enough workers may offer incentives to get employees to work overtime to meet demands. Longer work hours can lead to injuries caused by fatigue or repetitive stress, while shortened deadlines may tempt workers to skip required safety measures.
A construction work injury can cost tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages, and each injured worker is one less person available to an employer. As inexperienced employees suffer injuries, construction companies are on the hook for workers’ compensation claims as well as further labor shortages.
Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?
If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.
We also invite you to read through our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.