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A construction worker is a tradesman, laborer, or professional employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure.[1]

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
Fields of
Construction sites
Related jobs
Laborer; see Construction trades

The term construction worker is a generic term and most construction workers are primarily described by the type of work they perform (their trade). 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. Construction workers often work under a construction foreman.

Construction workers may also colloquially be referred to as "hard hat workers" or "hard hats",[2] as they often wear hardhats for safety.


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

There are established categories of trades that are internationally recognized due to the longevity of the field.


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 Labour 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 countries in the Indian Sub-continent are forced to work in desert conditions for as little as €6.20 a day.[6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Construction worker definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary". Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  2. ^ "hardhat".
  3. ^ Gambatese, John A.; Hinze, Jimmie W.; Haas, Carl T. (1997-01-01). "Tool to Design for Construction Worker Safety". Journal of Architectural Engineering. 3 (1): 32–41. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)1076-0431(1997)3:1(32). ISSN 1076-0431.
  4. ^ a b Richardson, Sophie, ed. (12 March 2008). One Year of My Blood: Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Beijing (Technical report). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly". National Public Radio (NPR). 2013.
  6. ^ "Qatar construction workers earn 55c an hour". Irish Times. Retrieved 21 December 2014.

External linksEdit