News & Press

Report Ties Skilled Labor Shortages to Jobsite Safety

A recent report by USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that contractors see a direct correlation between what they identify as the number one industry issue, skilled labor shortage, and jobsite safety risks.

The “Q3 2018 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index” released this September found that 58 percent of contractors they surveyed identified the lack of skilled workers as the number one factor impacting construction worker and jobsite safety. Additionally, 88 percent of contractors participating in the report said they expect to feel at a least a moderate impact from the workforce shortages in the next three years.

To mitigate the risk, the majority of those contractors surveyed said they are working to improve their overall jobsite safety culture (63 percent) and corporate approach to safety in the office (58 percent). 

Among the approaches that contractors cited as having the biggest impact on improving safety outcomes were those that involve and engage employees. They include:

•  Developing training programs for all workers (67 percent);
•  Ensuring accountability across the organization (53 percent); and
•  Empowering and involving employees (48 percent).

The nation’s opioid crisis also ranks as a major concern of employers when it comes to jobsite safety, according to the Index results. Nearly 40 percent of contractors in the study reported being “highly concerned” about the safety impacts of worker use/addiction to opioids – substantially higher than those concerned about alcohol (27 percent) or marijuana use (22 percent). Of note, however, while some 62 percent of the contractors reported strategies in place to deal with the safety risks related to alcohol, only half reported strategies for opioid abuse, a newer growing concern in the industry. 

The research for the quarterly economic index was developed with Dodge Data & Analytics by surveying commercial and institutional contractors.

Please watch for the upcoming November/December 2018 issue of California Constructor magazine for more on the workforce development/safety connection and how AGC of California and member firms are responding through training opportunities and new technology deployment.