To this day, many construction managers deal with safety rule breakers in a simple manner. They fire them, and almost without exception, there is no appeal. Termination of employment is the common method of operational control to deal with those workers who violate health and safety rules. Although there has been improvement in the disciplinary process in some construction companies, managers do not want to be burdened with personnel matters or viewed as hesitant when dealing with safety rule violators.
In their minds, summary termination indicates decisiveness and is, to a lesser degree today than in the 90s, viewed as an effective means to demonstrate their support for the safety rules. Though not always highest on the list of construction firms' priorities, the safety of their workforce is increasingly supported publicly and those who manage project sites are likewise expected to more aggressively support a safe work environment. More so in the past, with high wages in the construction industry as compared with other vocations, we seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of willing workers. So if one employee did not perform to expectations, managers simply remove that worker and try someone else.
The supply of construction craft workers is considerably less than a few years ago and no remedy is in sight. Many of the tradespeople who populated the industry two decades ago have, or soon will, be retired leaving the industry desperately in need of skilled tradesmen and efforts to recruit and train replacement workers have not been successful. In some construction firms, the average age of workers is in the 50s. The same trend has occurred for those with college degrees that traditionally went to work in the construction industry. The technology and other related industries have been siphoning away those that might have started a career in construction, but preferred the more comfortable environment of an office, lower work hours and higher salaries.