Career and Job Search Guide

Construction Worker

Construction laborers work at every location where a building or structure is being built and have a variety of duties. Construction laborers help build bridges, new homes, highways, and stores. Laborers must usually be experienced, strong, and well trained to complete their work. However, some construction jobs are very basic, requiring little skill or experience. Construction laborers either work as generalists or specialize. Those who build structures underground or dig tunnels usually exclusively have specialty in this type of construction.

Laborers are responsible for building site preparation and cleaning. They remove obstacles that would prevent concrete from smoothly being poured. Many laborers assemble and prepare scaffolding and unload equipment and materials transported to a construction site. Many construction laborers operate equipment such as cement preparation machines and stucco spray guns. Many laborers assist carpenters, masons, and other construction professionals.

Some laborers install and perform repairs on traffic lights. Those working on road construction are responsible for setting up traffic barricades, regulating traffic flows in construction sites, and clearing construction obstacles. Many laborers install water and sewer lines, in addition to laying new asphalt. Many of these construction laborers have very specialized tasks such as preparing explosives to build tunnels and operating state of the art laser guidance technology to lay pipes.

Many construction specialists are certified to remove dangerous construction materials including lead or asbestos.

Construction specialists are trained to handle equipment, such as plaster mixers, hydraulic boring machines, jackhammers, and other sophisticated and heavy equipment. Many utilize computer technology to operate pipe cutting robots that perform the work. To be effective workers, construction specialists must familiarize themselves with construction equipment and technology.

Construction laborers frequently collaborate with other highly skilled construction specialists to complete various projects. Many laborers work alone so they must be able to read and understand complex instructions and work without management supervision.

Work environment. Working as a construction worker is physically strenuous work since workers carry heavy loads and often contort their bodies to access difficult to reach areas. Many work on roofs or other elevated platforms and often work in inclement weather. Many workers work in areas where they are exposed to dangerous chemicals, fumes, and noise that can cause ear damage. To prevent bodily harm, construction laborers must wear protective equipment. Workers must be extremely cautious, and follow all safety rules, when working on underground construction projects.

Most workers do not work longer than 8 hour days, but often many are required to work longer hours to finish projects. Construction crews working on roads often work nights so work is completed quicker. In some regions, workers only work when permitted by weather condition. Often, weather stops or slows down work.