roofers working on a new construction houseWe’ve been hearing about worker shortages in many industries for some time now. Some of the shortfalls can still be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the construction industry, it is also due to an aging and retiring workforce and a lack of younger workers entering the trade. At the same time, there is a demand for housing across the country, including in New Jersey and New York, and builders want to take advantage of the demand while they can.

As a result, building projects are going ahead with fewer skilled workers than are necessary to create a safe, efficient job site. As construction site accidents and injuries increase, it’s important to know that you have rights when you are injured on the job, and Hofmann & Schweitzer is here to protect them.

How High Demand and Worker Shortages Lead to Accidents and Injuries

When skilled workers are in high demand, they should be in a position to set their hours and call the shots. In the construction industry, however, this is not always the case. Instead, worker shortages can cause the following factors and put workers at risk of injury and death on the job:

  • Inadequate training and experience. With a shortage of skilled workers, there is a higher likelihood of hiring less experienced or untrained workers. This can lead to an increased risk of accidents and injuries due to a lack of knowledge about safety protocols and procedures.
  • Rushed work and fatigue. The pressure to complete projects quickly due to high demand can result in longer working hours and extended shifts, increasing the risk of worker fatigue. Fatigued workers are more prone to making errors and having poor judgment, which can lead to accidents.
  • Reduced supervision. In situations where there are not enough experienced supervisors to oversee construction activities, workers may be more likely to deviate from safety protocols, leading to potential accidents.
  • High turnover rate. A worker shortage can lead to higher turnover rates as workers may seek better opportunities. Frequent turnover can disrupt the continuity of safety training and contribute to lapses in safety awareness.
  • Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The demand for construction projects may strain the supply chain for PPE, leaving workers without the necessary gear to protect themselves from hazards on the job site.
  • Increased pressure to cut corners. To meet project deadlines and demands, some workers or contractors may be tempted to cut corners in safety measures, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Inadequate communication. With a shortage of experienced workers, effective communication of safety protocols and instructions may suffer, leading to misunderstandings and potential safety breaches.
  • Overcrowded work sites. The influx of projects during a construction boom can lead to crowded and congested work sites, increasing the risk of collisions, falls, and other accidents.
  • Stress and mental health concerns. The fast-paced environment of a construction boom, combined with the pressure to deliver results, can contribute to increased stress levels among workers. Elevated stress can impact concentration, decision-making, and overall mental well-being, affecting safety.
  • Competitive bidding and lower budgets. To secure contracts, some contractors may submit competitive bids with lower budgets, potentially compromising safety measures due to cost-cutting efforts.
  • Lack of skilled workers for specialized tasks. In certain specialized areas of construction, such as electrical or plumbing work, a shortage of skilled workers can lead to improper installations or repairs, resulting in safety hazards.
  • Inadequate safety resources. A worker shortage may strain the availability of safety professionals, safety training programs, and resources needed to promote a culture of safety.

If any of these factors led to your injury on a construction site, you should talk to a lawyer about your right to compensation.

Who Pays When You Are Injured on the Job

If you were injured while performing job duties on a construction site, your medical bills and lost wages should be covered by New York or New Jersey workers’ compensation. However, if negligence on the part of a third party on the site caused your injuries, you might have cause to sue them for damages. If this is the case—or you are unsure of your options following an accident—we’re here to help.

Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.
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