Construction workers have a reputation as independent, outspoken and self-reliant group. A hard group to get engaged in any corporate initiative, including safety.
Can transient construction workers be meaningfully engaged in safety efforts? And does their engagement produce tangible results? The evidence says " Yes!" to both question.
What's different about construction?
The construction industry is often separated into three broad categories or " sectors" :
The Construction of Buildings sector includes both residential building and nonresidential building. Think not just housing developments but apartment buildings and skyscrapers.
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction includes companies that design and manage entire projects, think interstate highways and dams; as well as specialty trade contractors that perform activities like excavation and grading.
Specialty Trade Contractors perform specific types of work, think plumbing, painting and electrical work.
While the types of companies and their size varies, the construction industry tends to draw workers who prefer to work with limited direct supervision.
Construction jobs remain some of the highest paying jobs for people with a high school education that there are. Last year the average union construction worker earned $55,000 and–in some industries-it is not unusual to see construction workers earning in the six figure range.
Workers who prefer jobs with limited supervision like construction workers or long-haul truck drivers are often referred to as " cowboys" because of their independent nature. And the term is appropriate in more than one way when applied to our friends in construction.
Modern day construction workers work in conditions that are not dissimilar to the American cowboys of the 1800's.
Cowboys lived a hard life, revolving around two annual roundups, one in the spring and the other in the fall. Then a cattle drive to market.