Is a Construction Boom Coming?

By: Jerry Laws
   We’re focusing on construction safety and the construction industry’s hazards quite a bit this year.
   If the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ long-term employment projections are correct, there will be 150,400 new construction laborer jobs filled in the United States between 2016 and 2026. That’s a lot, it’s the largest number of new jobs listed among the selected infrastructure-related occupations looked at in a recent BLS article. Other occupations near the top are carpenters, plumbers, and electricians.
   The fastest-growing infrastructure-related occupations in this analysis were solar photovoltaic installers (projected growth of 104.9 percent) and wind turbine service technicians (96.3 percent). For those two, strong growth doesn’t represent very many jobs-growing by 96.3 percent by 2026 for wind turbine service technicians represents only 5,600 new jobs, according to the article.
   The new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives may decide to make an infrastructure bill a top priority this year, and there are signs at this writing that the Republicans in Congress and President Donald J. Trump may support it. If it is passed and the projected growth in construction jobs is realized, the annual safety campaigns aiming to stop construction falls take on more urgency and the leadership and passion of industry safety professionals will be more vital than ever.
   Remember, there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in the USA during 2016-about 100 a week, on average-and 991 of them were construction workers. The “fatal four” hazards were responsible for 63.7 percent of those construction deaths, BLS reported:
  • Falls-394 deaths (38.7 percent)
  • Struck by object-93 deaths (9.4 percent)
  • Electrocutions-82 deaths (8.3 percent)
  • Caught in/between-72 deaths (7.3 percent)
   We’re focusing on construction safety and the construction industry’s hazards quite a bit this year. From two construction articles in this issue to electrical safety and fall protection webinars during January and February, to an OH&S Summit event in Dallas on construction safety in April 2019, we’ll be showcasing safety experts who can help your workforce and so many new workers stay safe on the job.