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Construction workers are employed in the construction industry and work predominantly on construction sites and are typically engaged in aspects of the industry other than design or finance. The term includes general construction workers, also referred to as labourers and members of specialist trades such as electricians, carpenters and plumbers.

Construction trades

  • Carpet Layer is a tradesmen who specializes in laying carpets and flooring.

  • Concrete finisher, a tradesman who works with concrete, which includes placing, finishing, protecting and repairing concrete in construction projects.

  • Electrician, a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the construction of new buildings or maintenance of existing electrical infrastructure.

  • Fencer, a tradsmen who builds fences.

  • Painter and decorator, a tradesman responsible for the painting and decorating of buildings, and is also known as a decorator or house painter.

  • Pipefitter, (also called steamfitter) is someone who lays out, assembles, fabricates, maintains and repairs large-sized piping systems for industrial processes which are typically under high pressure and require metals such as carbon steel, stainless steel, and other alloys fused together through welding.

  • Steel erector, a tradesman who installs structural steel frames of building and engineering projects. The components would usually have been prefabricated, including all welded joints. Structural steel installation is usually crane assisted and utilizes mobile elevated work platforms or scissor lifts as the structure progresses. The work is executed in team using powered and hand tools to bolt the steelwork together.

  • Tiler, a tradesmen who works on tile in peoples home.

  • Welder is a tradesman who specialises in welding materials together.

Construction site safety

A construction worker with column reinforcement steel

Hazards to construction workers

The construction industry is the most dangerous land based civilian work sector. In the European Union, the fatal accident rate is nearly 13 workers per 100,000 as against 5 per 100,000 for the all sector average.

The problem is not that the hazards and risks are unknown, it is that they are very difficult to control in a constantly changing work environment. The two biggest safety hazards on site are falls from height and vehicles, but there are many more (electricity and being buried while working in excavations being two more examples). Some of the main health hazards on site are asbestos, solvents, noise, cement dust, and manual handling activities.

Applicable laws

Under European Union Law, there are European Union Directives in place to protect workers, notably Directive 89/391 (the Framework Directive) and Directive 92/57 (the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive). This legislation is transposed into the Member States and places requirements on employers (and others) to assess and protect workers health and safety.

In the U.S.marker the Occupational Safety & Health Administration OSHA sets and enforces standards concerning workplace safety and health. Also the U.N. has the Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988.

Personal Protective Equipment

Construction workers are usually associated with wearing a hard hat, this along with steel-toe boots are the most common personal protective equipment worn. The standard use of high visibility jackets is also widespread. Additional personal protective equipment is required on the basis of a risk assessment, for example when dealing with situations involving hazardous substances, protective gloves and goggles would be specified.
Construction worker donning a high-visibility fluorescent vest.

Most sites operate a scheme for protecting casual labourers called "No boots, no work!" or similar.


  1. Lincoln Electric (1994). The Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding. Cleveland: Lincoln Electric. ISBN 99949-25-82-2.
  2. Weman, Klas (2003). Welding processes handbook. New York: CRC Press LLC. ISBN 0-8493-1773-8.
  3. Eurostat Construction Accident statistics
  4. Database of International Safety Standards

See also

External links

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