The global pandemic created a major disruption in the nation’s labor force, commonly known as “The Great Resignation.” More than 47 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, as stated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Although hiring rates have picked up since then, many workers who previously resigned in search of better compensation, work-life balance, and flexibility were rehired elsewhere.
The labor shortage in the construction industry has reached a crisis point. Over 40% of the current construction workforce is expected to retire within a decade, as reported by Forbes. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of approximately 430,000 construction workers, and the shortage is expected to increase over the next two years. Factors contributing to the problem may include:
- Pandemic malaise
- Government economic aid that that gave millions of workers the time and motivation to reevaluate career options
- Baby Boomers taking the opportunity to retire
How Does the Labor Shortage Increase the Likelihood of Accidents?
The labor shortage in the construction industry increases the risk of injury in several different ways:
- Lack of skilled workers: It has been a construction industry practice in the past to partner skilled and experienced workers with new hires or junior workers to preserve skills and ensure best practices on the job site. Many of the skilled workers have retired or moved into other industries, leaving the new hires with no one to mentor them.
- Hiring inexperienced workers: Just as construction projects are becoming more technical, experienced workers are leaving the industry. This worker shortage may force some construction companies to hire workers with little or no experience, who are unfamiliar with the common hazards on a construction site and more likely to place themselves or their co-workers in danger.
- Overworking employees: When contractors do not have enough workers, they may offer incentives to encourage existing employees to work longer hours to meet demands. This can cause repetitive stress injuries and fatigue, which can lead to more serious injuries.
- Cutting safety corners: With higher demands and fewer workers, construction companies may be tempted to skip required safety measures to get the job down faster or to save money on safety equipment. With fewer skilled workers, contractors should be training new workers in trade skills and safety procedures, but they may fail to do so while under pressure to meet higher production demands.
- Fewer workers: When construction workers are injured, contractors have even fewer workers on the jobsite, which only exacerbates the problem.
What Are Your Options After a Construction Accident?
If your construction accident is covered by workers’ compensation, you should be eligible to receive benefits, no matter who caused it. Workers’ comp will cover your medical expenses related to the injury and partially reimburse you for lost wages during your recovery. If a third party (other than your employer) caused or contributed to the accident, you may have a claim for compensation against the responsible party, in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. In a civil lawsuit, you may be entitled to seek compensation for losses not covered by workers’ comp, such as loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Our New York personal injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP can investigate your accident to determine fault and liability, secure evidence to support your claim, and assess the full extent of your damages. We are experienced trial lawyers with the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the maximum compensation available for your injuries.
After a serious construction accident, contact us at (212) 986-7353. We offer a free and confidential consultation with no obligation.