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Workers' Comp · Personal Injury

Shortage of Skilled Construction Workers and Accident Risks in Illinois

Illinois workers' compensationAny building boom, like the one Northern Illinois currently is experiencing, can lead to a shortage of skilled construction workers - which in turn can often lead to more construction accidents. 

What’s driving the shortage of skilled workers?

According to Chicagoland Associated General Contractors (AGC), 73 percent of local homebuilders are having a hard time finding and hiring qualified workers, and 76 percent predicted the shortage will continue, citing a growing economy, retiring baby boomers, declining population, limited diversity in the trades, and a seemingly lack of interest in construction work among a new generation of emerging workers. 

“We are in a war for talent with many other industries,” a statement from the AGC said. 

Earlier this year, commercial construction leaders, including general contractors and construction managers, reported a shortage of skilled workers, according to a survey conducted by USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

Risks construction workers face

Some 58 percent of people surveyed by USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that workers with insufficient skills are increasing safety risks, while 62 percent said those workers would heighten safety risks for at least the next three years. 

The drumbeat of concern continues: 80 percent who took the survey also claimed they are “moderately concerned” about the skilled labor shortage’s effect on safety, with 26 percent expressing high or very high concern. 

In a 2016-2017 U.S. survey, the global staffing firm Manpower Group reported that skilled-trade vacancies are the hardest jobs to fill. Those trades include carpenters, electricians and plumbers. During and since the Great Recession, the construction industry has lost 1.5 million workers, according to the National Association of Home Builders. 

“The commercial construction industry is growing, but the labor shortage remains unresolved,” USG President and CEO Jennifer Scanlon said. “As contractors are forced to do more with less, a renewed emphasis on safety is imperative to the strength and health of the industry. It continues to be important for organizations to build strong and comprehensive safety programs.” 

Other startling statistics

Other findings from the USG and Chamber of Commerce report include: 

71 percent of general contractors are “moderately concerned’’ about the effects of opioid use on workplace safety, with 39 percent claiming high or very high concern. 

58 percent said they are at least moderately concerned about alcohol use on workplace safety, while 54 percent expressed concern about marijuana use. 

Two-thirds noted that safety training at all levels would improve the safety culture.  

If you’ve been injured in a construction accident in Illinois, contact an Illinois construction accident lawyer who understands the law and knows how to get results. Contact Schweickert & Ganassin, LLP. 

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