Those in the industry say that the demand for labor has grown much faster than the supply, particularly for construction supervisors. The more available work means that less-seasoned firms and workers win more jobs, and as a result, there is worry that safety is suffering, particularly in smaller projects where experienced union workers are generally not used.
Help Wanted: Labor Shortages Threaten Construction Safety
Already, both fatalities and injuries—a broader number not as affected by one or two high-profile accidents—are on pace in 2008 to far exceed counts of recent years. As of Monday, the city recorded 16 fatalities and 72 injuries at work sites this year, according to Caroline Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the DOB. Should the same rate of injuries continue, it would put the annual mark at over 150, surpassing the 124 that the department recorded in 2007 and the 116 in 2006. Twelve fatalities were recorded in 2007, and 18 in 2006.