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Impact of construction labor shortages on safety

By Linda Schwefel
June 22, 2022

As recently reported in a Wall Street Journal article, the construction industry has struggled with labor shortages for some time. However, with the retirement of many older workers, the reluctance of young people to take construction jobs, and the construction boom just beginning because of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the construction industry will see an estimated 872,000 increase in jobs by 2025.

And with fewer workers than ever willing to take these jobs (and construction contractors having to turn work down simply because of labor shortages), construction employers are getting creative: along with pay increases faster than any time in the last 40 years, the WSJ reports that some contractors offer hiring bonuses and housing allowances for new hires. As the wages and incentives increase, the construction industry can anticipate an influx of new workers: young adults just entering the workforce, career changers, and even retirees lured back into the labor pool.

It’s in the numbers

With all these new, young, returning, and older workers joining the ranks of construction workers, it’s worth noting some quick construction injury stats:

Digital field inspection platform to the rescue 

The question every construction contractor must ask itself is: how can I keep them all safe? A robust safety field inspection management platform can make the difference, but not just any platform. Look below for four must-haves for any construction contractor looking to up its safety stats:

1) Ability to share safety standard operating procedures. There’s no getting around it: your workers at the site are going to be spread thin as the labor shortage continues to be a problem. Your new workers won’t be able to get the one-on-one personal training that was the norm only a few years ago. With a field inspection management platform, however, workers can use the in-program SOPs, manuals, and even reference photos and videos, to ensure work is being done safely.

2) Community issue reporting.  With every job site, there are workers coming and going, including subcontractors, consultants, inspectors, supervisors and more. Opening issue reporting to everyone who comes on the job site helps to ensure corners aren’t cut, safety procedures are being followed, and everyone has a stake in keeping the workers safe and the project on track.

3) Safety inspections at scale.  A big problem with worker safety is the sheer scope of the issue: it’s easy enough to keep 20 people safe on one jobsite, but increase your projects, and you’re scrambling. When your field inspection platform allows you to scale up to accommodate added workers, procedures, tasks, and sites, you’re able to identify areas for training and reinforcement and spot risks before an accident occurs.

4) Task-based assignment and routing. Safety managers can close the loop on field inspection management through simple task-based assignment and routing. Those in charge of safety have a single source of truth to track inspections and safety issue resolution status, driving accountability for all inspection and remediation activities.

Can your field inspection management platform do this?

If it’s done on pen-and-paper or spreadsheets, it most certainly cannot. But, if you’re using Fulcrum, all the above come standard in its SaaS-based field inspection management platform. When you can share safety SOPs with new workers in the field, give everyone on site the ability to report dangerous conditions, preserve safety procedures even when your project and workload increases, and keep on track of it all through intuitive task-based assignment and routing, you’ve got the makings of keeping all your workers safe, whether 1 day on the job or 1,000.

And if you’re one of those who aren’t using Fulcrum yet, let us tempt you to make the switch: how does a full free month to try it out, kick the tires, and take it for a test spin sound? It only takes about half an hour to:

  • Sign up for your free trial
  • Create a custom inspection process based on your checklist
  • Set up your inspection teams
  • Create team workflows
  • Optimize your field inspection operations

We’ve got what it takes to make safety woven into the fabric of your worksite culture – and all you’ve got to lose is 30 minutes. Sign up for your free trial today!