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Labor Foreman Duties and Responsibilities

While a labor foreman’s duties are determined by the industry and location they work in, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these essential duties include:

Coordinate Work Schedules Every day, a labor foreman is required to examine the workload orders received from leadership and ensure that there are enough skilled workers to complete the job. Once they properly forecast what is required, a successful foreman assigns the right tasks to workers according to their availability and individual skill set.

Lead a Field Crew A labor foreman’s primary job is to lead their crew to successfully finish a job. They ensure that everyone on their team is clear on exactly what needs to be done. As they engage and direct workers doing construction, they consult with other staff to ensure that all personnel and production problems are quickly taken care of.

Supervise and Train Workers A labor foreman monitors the work habits and attendance rate of their crew and provides correction when needed. Their watchful eye keeps a construction or installation project moving according to schedule. They supervise their crew’s performance and instruct the work of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

Maintain Safety Standards Labor foremen diligently manage safety protocols. They make sure that worker safety stays a top priority. Most foremen are required to study and enforce guidelines and laws from the national Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A foreman may have periodic safety briefings with project leadership to inform them ahead of time of any concerns or violations.

Submit Progress Reports A labor foreman carefully monitors the progress of the project to make sure it is on track. They report this progress to their boss daily or weekly, depending on the scope of the job being done. Throughout the day, foremen maintain simple records to keep construction leadership informed at all times. They also give final approval to construction work upon completion.


Labor Foreman Skills and Qualifications

People with a strong mechanical background, leadership ability, and a desire to organize a team with many moving pieces will succeed as labor foremen. Employers prefer at least three years of construction experience. The following skills are essential to getting the job done:

  • Construction experience – confidently possessing an in-depth understanding of construction procedures, practices, and principles is a must for labor foreman because they have to be skilled enough to notice and correct the errors of the employees they supervise and train
  • Blueprint interpretation – labor foremen must be able to analyze blueprints and perform basic calculations to give needed direction and ensure work is being properly completed
  • Project management – a labor foreman is expected to accurately forecast how many workers he needs and how long each project phase will take. They must successfully coordinate multiple tasks according to priorities and plans to keep projects on time and on budget
  • Employee management – an excellent foreman understands people management and is able to mentor and train coworkers to improve construction skills. Part of their role is hiring and developing team members while assuring standards are met
  • Communication skills – a labor foreman must have excellent written and oral communication skills since they constantly interact with different members of their crew and superiors. Their writing must clear since they write daily progress reports
  • Physical fitness – working as a labor foreman demands certain physical requirements. Foremen are typically on their feet for eight hours a day while wearing a tool belt that can weigh between 10 to 15 pounds. They might climb up and down ladders and carry building materials up to 100 pounds

Labor Foreman Education and Training

A labor foreman can obtain employment with a high school degree and vocational training in a field related to the labor involved. Most employers desire at least three years of hands-on construction or foreman experience, and require knowledge of occupational precautions and safety hazards related to the work. Forklift certification and knowledge gained through previous supervisory roles are also highly sought after.


Labor Foreman Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that labor foremen, classified as supervisors of construction, earn a national median salary of $64,070. Labor foreman in the 10th percentile earn about $41,080 a year, and the highest paid earn $104,160 per year. Full-time labor foremen employed by larger companies can typically expect to receive a benefits package that includes health insurance. Industry employment for labor foreman is projected to grow 11 percent through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as faster than average for all occupations. Expected economic and population growth will increase the demand for new jobs that labor foremen will supervise.


Helpful Resources

Ready to become a top-notch labor foreman? Here’s a list of helpful resources to put you on the path to career success:

The Complete Guide to Foreman Leadership – this in-depth video training offers time-tested advice to help you learn foreman leadership skills, reveals common mistakes to avoid, and discusses important career steps to take

So You Wanna Be a Foreman: An Electrical Construction Foreman’s Guide to Efficient Labor Management – learn labor efficiency and production techniques to help you succeed as a labor foreman in any industry

Construction Leadership Success: The Construction Foreman’s Definitive Guide for Running Safe, Efficient, and Profitable Projects – check out this book to learn how to become a foreman in the construction industry and develop an effective management style

Basic Foremanship – this online leadership course from the National Electrical Contractors Association is perfect for new and aspiring foremen who want to succeed in an entry-level role