Construction worker

Construction worker

An American carpenter wearing overalls, boots, and a hard hat bores a hole with a hand drill.

A Carpenter, working on the construction of Douglas Dam in the United States, bores a hole with a hand drill. (June 1942)
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Related jobs
Labourer; see Construction trades

A construction worker is a tradesperson, labourer (by tradition considered an unskilled tradesperson), or professional employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure.


The term construction worker is a generic term and most construction workers are primarily described by the type of work they perform (their trade). Construction workers may also be colloquially be referred to as "hard hat workers" or "hard hats",[1] as they often wear hardhats for safety.

Construction workers often work under a construction foreman.

While most construction workers learn on the job as an informal apprentice to an experienced tradesman, formal apprenticeship programs are common, particularly in developed countries with trade unions.


The division of labor of construction encompasses a diverse range of skilled and manual labor.

Among the most common construction trades are those of carpenter, electrician, heavy equipment operator, ironworker, laborer, mason, plasterer, plumber, pipefitter, sheet metal worker, steel fixer (also known as a "rodbuster"), and welder.[2]


Construction safety is very important to ensure a safe environment for the workers. All construction workers need to be educated on safety at each construction site to minimize injury.[3]


In 2008, a Human Rights Watch report described unsafe and unfair working conditions and failure on the part of the Chinese government to enforce labor standards in the construction industry.[4] The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that, at the end of 2006, 90% of the 40 million construction workers in China were migrant workers. Many of the migrant workers turned to construction work after their farming communities collapsed into poverty.[4]

In the United States, illegal immigrant labor is prevalent in the construction industry. Because of the questionable legal status of these workers, employers often have the ability to commit crimes such as wage theft and violation of workplace standards without fear of facing consequences.[5] Similar abuse of immigrant labor is also a problem in Qatar during the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup where workers mostly from poor Asian countries are forced to work in desert conditions for as little as €6.20 a day.[6]


Ironworkers erecting the steel frame of a new building at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States 
A steel fixer wears protective gloves while handling a coil of rebar, which will be embedded in a reinforced concrete column to strengthen it 
Workers wearing reflective vests, hard hats, and other protective clothing at a work site in New York City 

See also


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