Report Says South's Construction Boom Costly to Workers

The report points out that workplace injuries are common among these workers, fewer than half are offered medical insurance by their employers, and more than half earn less than $15 an hour despite having on average high levels of experience in the industry.

A new report titled "Build a Better South" from the Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, and the University of Illinois at Chicago sheds light on the working conditions for construction workers in six southern U.S. cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Nashville. These cities are "engines of growth in the South and are home to some of the largest and most important construction markets in the U.S.," having together employed nearly 1 million construction workers in 2013, it says.

The report points out that workplace injuries are common among these workers, fewer than half are offered medical insurance by their employers, and more than half earn less than $15 an hour despite having on average high levels of experience in the industry. Thirty-six percent reported they struggle to pay for basics such as food and rent, it says.

The researchers surveyed 1,435 construction workers in the six cities, with 200-300 from each being surveyed. Participants were recruited on randomly selected commercial building, residential building, and heavy construction sites. And the researchers also conducted in-depth interviews with construction workers and employers to understand the challenges and opportunities in the southern construction market.

Dr. David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, of George Washington University's Milken School of Public Health and former OSHA assistant secretary during the Obama administration, wrote a foreword for the report. "Building a Better South reminds us that far too often construction workers across the South face working conditions that should not exist in the twenty-first century in the richest country in the world," he writes.

Michaels in the foreword calls the report "a call to action. We can no longer be silent knowing that our homes and commercial centers, our universities and hospitals, are built by men and women who work long hours but who can barely feed their families, who face dangerous working conditions daily with no recourse or compensation if they are injured, and whose labor rights are too often violated."

Dennis Donahou, vice president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Southern District, wrote an op-ed saying the report documents the most critical issues facing construction workers in major construction markets. "As the construction industry continues to grow in the South, now is the time for policymakers and industry leaders to ensure that all construction jobs offer family-supporting wages, benefits, and safe working conditions to the construction workers," he wrote, adding that the answer is to support the use of union professionals on southern construction projects."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue