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Construction skilled-worker shortage causing rise in claims

Inexperienced workers at higher injury risk

May 19, 2014 |
Photo: Ben Aveling via Wikimedia Commons

The improved economy has boosted construction starts, but a shortage of experienced trade workers has led to more on-the-job injuries and construction defects, says Doug Cauti, senior vice president and chief underwriting officer of Liberty Mutual’s construction practice.

The increase in injuries stems from mistakes such as falls from heights due to forgetting to tie off and tripping over items that could have been easily moved—things that experienced workers tend to avoid, Cauti says.

The first six months of employment are the most risky for new tradespeople.

Experienced workers who return to the job after a long layoff may need refresher courses in safety protocols, Cauti points out. Some may be more injury prone if they were physically inactive while they were out of work.

Insurance executives are also seeing an uptick in construction-defect claims, particularly in the apartment and condo markets which have been hot in some regions recently.

There is good news, though, for contractors—at least this year. Insurance rates are expected to hold steady or rise modestly for the remainder of the year for most construction clients.


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