The construction industry is ever-evolving, and construction workers will find themselves having to juggle the demands of a client with long working hours and dangerous conditions, as well as following the relevant safety precautions in order to avoid the risk of a serious injury, illness, or in the worst case scenario, death. This article outlines a typical day in the life of a construction worker, with the challenges employees will have to face, often as soon as they have stepped foot on the construction site first thing in the morning.
Starting the working day
A typical working day for a construction worker may start as early as 5.30, especially if the employee needs to do work before they even leave the house, such as make phone calls and check what time deliveries are going to made. Depending on their position, the employee will need to ensure that core materials such as siding and concrete arrive at the construction site on time. The standard site hours are 8.00 to 17.00, although this will differ depending on the construction company and the demands of the project. Weekend work can be common, and workers may need to work well into the early evening in order to complete a project if they are behind. Construction workers will need to get as much work done as they can first thing in the morning so they can avoid more strenuous work if the temperature gets too hot later in the day.
Getting the job done
When employees arrive at the construction site, they will often be greeted by the team leader or construction safety officer. A short meeting might take place, explaining that day’s duties, with feedback on how the project is going so far. Workers will then need to change into their protective gear, which could include hi-visibility jackets, hard helmets, safety glasses, or gloves. Actual construction work may not begin until there is enough natural light for the employee to see safely, meaning a project may start later in the day during the winter months.
Once construction has started, there will be numerous jobs taking place, often at the same time. Employees with the relevant license may be lifting steel beams using a crane, whilst others may be digging dirt from a site, or transporting the required materials and tools to a roof surface. Others may be laying brickwork or concrete. In order to complete a project safely and more effectively, employees may work from a type of work platform such as a aluminum access platform, providing support for employees working at a great height. Compared to more traditional materials like wood or steel, an aluminum access platform is easy to install, versatile and durable, and can easily moved around the construction site for fast deployment. This type of platform is becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry, as aluminum is a sustainable material and can be recycled.
The demands of the construction industry
Workers will need to take frequent breaks throughout the day and re-hydrate by drinking water every few hours, as required by legislation in many states. If a construction site is situated in a busy public area, conditions may become tougher later in the day when more cars are on the road. Construction workers will have to bear in the mind the safety concerns of their fellow employees, as well as the general public. Workers may go home earlier than other industries, especially on a Friday, as they would have started the working day earlier, though this will depend on the requirements of the job. At the end of the day, the construction safety officer will lock the construction site to deter trespassers and the general public.
The typical working day of a construction worker can provide a number of challenges and employees will need to following the correct safety procedures at all times in order to avoid a serious injury or illness. A number of precautions will need to be taken, including making use of scaffolding and a work surface to minimize the risk of workers falling from elevated surfaces. Employees will also need to wear protective clothing to avoid illnesses which could develop from being exposed to excess dust, and will need to keep hydrated throughout the day.
As well as a long working day, there are several other challenges to the role, including long hours of lifting heavy equipment and materials which can prove physically exhausting. Extreme weather conditions can also have an effect on the construction worker; hot, sunny temperatures can add to the exhaustion, whilst windy conditions can also prove difficult, especially if extra safety precautions need to be taken to secure equipment and tools to surfaces so they don’t blow away.