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NORA Construction Sector Council

The NORA Construction Sector Council brings together individuals and organizations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. It was formed in 2006 for the second decade of NORA. Now in the third decade of NORA (2016-2026) the council seeks to facilitate the most important research, understand the most effective intervention strategies, and learn how to implement those strategies to achieve sustained improvements in workplace practice. Contact the sector coordinator or NORA Coordinator with any questions, comments, or to volunteer.

Meetings and News

The NORA Construction Sector Council is currently reviewing public comments on the draft National Occupational Research Agenda for Construction and making revisions. The final version will be published in 2018.

Sector Description

As of 2015, the construction sector has 9.9 million workers, an approximately ten percent increase since 2012 when employment levels at their lowest. In 2015, nearly 30% of construction workers were of Hispanic origin – higher than any previous years.1 Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees made up 92.5% of all construction establishments, and 41.4% of all construction employees work in small businesses.2 The construction industry includes all jobs under NAICS code 23. It includes not only residential and commercial building construction, but also heavy and civil engineering construction, like water and sewer lines, highways, and bridges. Specialty trades like roofing, plumbing, electrical, drywall, and painting are also included in the construction sector. Construction jobs are some of the most dangerous, with the highest fatality rate of all industries. Falls are a the leading cause of death in the construction sector, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities recorded in 2015.3

The construction industry can be difficult to study because of its complexity and the diversity of job tasks and employers, the prevalence of small businesses, and variations in workforce skills, weather conditions, and work environments. Many construction projects are characterized by temporary and transitory work. A typical construction workplace changes daily, and the type of work varies greatly, from new construction, repairs or renovations, and demolition to cleanup and reconstruction. One of the challenges inherent to construction is that the restructuring of work practices cannot be accomplished in individual workplaces or with individual workers. Turnover of workers is relatively high. Construction workers are employed by many contractors during their lifetimes.

Information is available about the NIOSH Construction Program, which facilitates the work of the Council.


References

  1. CPWR (2016). Quarterly Data Report: First quarter 2016 http://www.cpwr.com/publications/first-quarter-hispanic-employment-and-business-owners-us-construction-industry
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010.
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). Economic news release. National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2015. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm
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