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Construction Worker Duties and Responsibilities

The type of organization construction workers work for will determine the exact duties they perform. Based on job listings we analyzed, construction workers' duties typically involve:

Maintain the Work Site Construction workers keep the construction site tidy and clean by sweeping and removing debris and trash. They ensure the area is compliant with health and safety regulations and that dangerous tools or materials are kept out of the way to avoid accidents.

Assist with Demolition Construction workers assist with demolition on the construction site, removing debris after the demolition has taken place.

Assist with Machine Maintenance Construction workers maintain and repair machinery and equipment to keep it working efficiently at all times.

Operate Machinery and Equipment Construction workers operate a variety of machinery and heavy equipment, such as torches and jackhammers; with specialized training, they may also help transport and use explosives and run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels.

Load and Unload Materials Construction workers assist their colleagues in loading and unloading materials and equipment at the job site, ensuring that the correct materials are available to be used. This involves carrying heavy loads, such as timber or cement and cinder blocks.


Construction Worker Skills and Qualifications

Construction workers should be able to follow instructions clearly and communicate well with others. Typically, employers require a high school diploma, as well as the following abilities:
  • Math skills - to perform basic calculations, measuring materials for fitting and calculating quantities
  • Teamwork - to work closely and effectively with other construction workers and laborers
  • Mechanical skills - to maintain and operate equipment on the job site
  • Physical strength - to lift heavy materials and equipment, such as cinder blocks or bags of cement, and to have the stamina to perform strenuous tasks each day
  • Color vision - to distinguish between colors, such as to help electricians with different colored wires

Construction Worker Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become a construction worker is a high school diploma, with classes in mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and other vocational subjects being particularly beneficial. Construction workers typically learn their skills through on-the-job-training; the length of this training varies depending on the employer and the specialization. Some construction workers specialize in a particular area of construction, such as roofing, while others are more general and can perform a variety of tasks.

Construction Worker Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for construction workers is nearly $33,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Construction workers in the 10th percentile earn around $22,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $61,000 a year. The higher end of the pay scale includes bonuses that can reach up to $4,000. Less than half of employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. According to the BLS, this sector is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026.

Helpful Resources

We've collected some of the best resources to help you develop a career as a construction worker:

Construction Professionals Forum - Almost 75, 000 people have joined this LinkedIn group for construction professionals, which can include administrative, engineering, and craft professionals related to the construction industry.

The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling - From drawing the design to laying the foundations and installing the wiring, there are many aspects to building a property. This book provides a great introduction to all this and more, with 1,700 full-color illustrations and 300 quick reference charts.

Graphic Guide to Frame Construction - Newly revised and updated, this book is packed with up-to-date information and the latest material advice, as well as detailed construction methods. Written by experienced architect Rob Thallon, it provides a great introduction to building the perfect frame.

Construct Connect - This blog provides a layman's perspective on the latest industry news; it's ideal for construction workers who are new to the industry. It highlights the latest trends in the commercial construction industry, so professionals can stay up-to-date with what clients will want for their next construction projects.

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