Labor Shortage Impacting Construction Safety

Published on Thursday, March 17, 2016

Growth in construction is creating greater demand for qualified workers, and the field is currently experiencing a labor shortage.

Construction spending in January 2016 was 10.4 percent higher than that in January 2015, part of a consistent pattern of growth recently reported by the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. Following an economic downturn that saw many construction workers leave the industry, a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) finds that as many as 86 percent of contractors are now having difficulty filling craft worker positions.

The AGC survey also indicated 56 percent of firms are increasing base pay rates for hourly craft professionals and that 43 percent of firms have increased their reliance on subcontractors because of tight labor conditions.

Unfortunately, shortages also appear to be impacting safety, with 15 percent of firms reporting an increase in injuries and illnesses because of worker shortages.

To meet the needs of the construction industry, AGC offers scholarships to students pursuing careers in construction. BCSP this year joined AGC to contribute three new scholarships to those who are studying construction safety.

Firms looking to better protect their workers, or safety practitioners who are seeking opportunities with greater safety responsibilities, should consider connecting on the BCSP Career Center, jobs.bcsp.org.

By growing the field and connecting job seekers with employers we create a safer construction industry.