Insiders in the construction industry understand that the public’s perception of construction workers could use a little PR. More importantly, though, the often-misunderstood construction worker could stand to simply provide a glimpse into the everyday life of those who build for a living. Construction workers work hard, and often toil in dangerous conditions, in inclement weather, and for modest paychecks. The idea that the construction profession is easy is completely false.
What Are Those Construction Workers Doing, Anyway?
After gathering information from countless construction workers, one thing becomes apparent – these men and women work hard! One of the reasons why construction workers may occasionally appear to be standing around is that the physically demanding nature of the job requires occasional rest periods. Imagine breaking apart concrete with an air hammer for eight hours, uninterrupted. Or hanging seventy-pound sheets of drywall for eight hours straight without a chance to let muscles rest. Or framing a house for eight hours straight – cutting boards and hauling a twelve-pound nailer around from morning until nighttime. This is one of the often-overlooked aspects of being a construction worker – it is really hard work!
Another reason why construction workers may appear to be standing idle is the requirement to have a safety spotter or safety worker in place for any workers who are in dangerous situations. These safety spotters keep a close eye on the active worker, and can provide medical assistance or safety support should the situation become dangerous. When workers are down in a sewer, for example, one or more above ground employees must be present to help retrieve the worker who is below ground. These workers up top may appear idle, but in reality they are hyper-focused on the safety of the man or woman in harms way.
One reason why some workers appear to be simply standing around is – they are! Construction jobs aren’t always a linear process. Building a house doesn’t follow a process that brings in one group of workers in a non-stop manner for three days, then the next group, etc. Rather, workers from a variety of trades must frequently interact, wait for their turn, and then complete their portion of the overall job. This causes a time period of inactivity, which is simply part of being in the construction trades. This downtime can be filled by performing cleanup duties, taking meal breaks, and prepping for the next part of the job.
Construction Teams Work Hard – Most Of The Time
Next time a construction team appears on the side of the road, in a commercial setting, or working on a residential project, viewers should take note of how hard they are working – not the amount they are standing around. Understanding that the human body isn’t designed to go full out for eight hours without rest is important. Construction teams must rest, plan, measure, prepare, and communicate. This may appear like idle time to the casual observer, but to those in the construction trades it’s just the nature of the beast.