Construction laborers work at construction sites under the supervision of project managers and construction supervisors and perform a variety of tasks. They can be found working in a variety of environments ranging from building construction to highway construction or repair. Most construction workers will specialize in a type of construction such as building, tunnel or roadway construction. In addition, strength, stamina and specialized training are required for construction workers to complete their jobs. Construction laborers often work with craftsmen such as carpenters, surveyors, engineers and others.
Construction workers work a standard 40 hour work week. The mean hourly salary of a construction laborer ranged from $12.50-$13.25 per hour. Benefits included will vary from employer to employer. Construction workers belonging to a union usually receive some type of benefits. Construction laborers may be required to work long hours including nights and weekends. Construction workers can either work as temporary agents, self employed or as part of a labor union. Hourly salary can differ greatly depending on the location of the job as well as the individual candidate’s experience, education and training.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Construction workers are responsible for performing a variety of tasks at a construction site. This can include anything from preparing a construction site for work, such as demolition of current structures and removal of vegetation, to erecting scaffolding and other support structures. They assist with loading and unloading raw materials to the construction site and tend to construction machines necessary to complete the job such as concrete mixers, pavement breakers and others. In some situations construction laborers are responsible of other duties such as monitoring safety and directing traffic at obstructed sites. Construction workers may work in teams or as individuals assigned to one duty. Laborers will often assist project managers, carpenters and other individuals associated with construction projects.
At highway and road construction sites, construction laborers are responsible for directing traffic flow at obstructed intersections and sites including erecting traffic barricades, clearing roadways and establishing right of ways. In this situation the construction laborer holds a dual position as a public safety officer in order to preserve and protect the safety of the general public in high danger construction zones.
Construction workers are constantly exposed to loud noises and potentially dangerous work environments. Often times construction workers demolishing old buildings are exposed to asbestos and other hazardous materials. In addition the equipment required to complete the nature of the work is potentially dangerous when operated carelessly. Often times construction laborers are exposed to hazardous chemicals and potentially toxic fumes. Overall construction laborers suffer the highest concentration of on the job industries of almost any other industry. In addition construction laborers may be required to work nights, early morning hours and weekends. This is especially common while doing highway construction projects to prevent traffic during business hours.
Demand for construction laborers is expected to increase faster than other jobs over the next ten years. This is due to continuous need in road repair, building demolition and building erection. Competition for entry level or general construction laborer positions may be intense, however specialized training or certification may give candidates an edge. Prospects will be especially good for candidates who have flexibility to travel.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Construction laborers often receive on the job training or partake in an apprenticeship to learn the tools of the trade. While there is no formal education requirement set, apprenticeships and internships may require a high school diploma, GED or equivalent as well as proficiency in the English language and basic mathematical skills.
Construction laborers may graduate and partake in trade school and construction specific education through private schooling or community colleges. Construction apprenticeships often source candidates through trade or construction schools or through temporary staffing agencies. These apprenticeships may last anywhere between 2-4 years in a combination of both classroom and on the job training. During this time, candidates become acquainted with all safety precautions, regulations and requirements as well as basic knowledge of information required to perform the jobs.
Construction laborers must be knowledgeable in operating a variety of construction equipment including concrete and plaster mixers, concrete breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers and others. Additional training may be required for construction laborers who wish to use and operate computer equipment for surveying purposes or electronic pipe cutting purposes.
Workers assigned to hazardous jobs such as asbestos removal or working with other hazardous materials require extra schooling and education including employee sponsored Occupational Safety and Health Administration training.
Laborers may achieve additional certification in specialized activities. Such include certification as a welder, concrete finishing and scaffold erecting. Through continuous experience, construction laborers can earn promotion to supervisor and management positions.
Construction laborers can either be independent contractors or be long to a local construction union. One such union is the Laborers’ International Union of North America.
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