The continuing challenge of finding qualified workers is prompting many construction industry leaders across the country to worry about job site safety issues.
According to a survey released jointly by the Chicago-based USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, industry officials say concerns about safety have accelerated due to the number of older skilled workers who are retiring, shorter construction schedules, and projects that are more complex.
The Commercial Construction Index survey of more than 2,700 industry officials shows that a strong majority of companies are currently working to improve safety practices on the job through the development of enhanced training programs for all levels of workers.
Those same officials say they are improving supervisory leadership, while also reaffirming management’s commitment to safety.
“As construction is forced to do more with less, a renewed emphasis on safety is imperative to the strength and health of the industry,” said Jennifer Scanlon, the president and chief executive officer of the USG Corporation, in a statement.
Scanlon added: “It continues to be important for organizations to build strong and comprehensive safety programs.”
Not unrelated, a majority of respondents said they have enacted both alcohol and marijuana substance abuse programs for their employees in recent years, while just over half said they were similarly responding to the growing issue of opioid use.
Regarding the question of the ongoing worker shortage, 58 percent of the respondents said they do not currently have enough skilled workers; with a larger 63 percent expecting that shortage will only get worse in the next three years.
By Garry Boulard
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