Occupational health: recognizing and preventing work-related disease and injury, 4th edition. BS Levy, and DH Wegman, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2000 Jan; :749-765
Construction workers build highways, stadiums, industrial plants, office buildings, and homes. They also repair or renovate roads, bridges, and other structures and demolish or clean up former building sites. In the United States, construction work also includes cleanup of hazardous waste sites. The work is hard physical labor, often under difficult conditions, including hot, cold, and wet weather (Fig. 42-1). Several factors exacerbate safety and health problems in construction, related to how the industry operates or how the work is performed. Construction rarely provides steady employment; construction workers are always working themselves out of their jobs. Although some projects may last several years, many last only a few months. And many assignments on a project, such as roofing or painting, last only a few days each, with several trades working on a site simultaneously. Therefore, a construction worker may have five or more employers in a year. Just as the work assignments change throughout a construction project, so do the topography of the worksite and the cast of employers. Each trade on a site may work for a different contractor.