When we think about low-income workers, we usually think about fast-food cashiers or migrant farmworkers, not construction workers. And it's true that skilled trades employees steadily employed in commercial construction work can command respectable, middle-class wages. But it's equally true that millions of workers on the margins of the building industry struggle to put together a living, vexed by irregular demand, low piecework rates, and even wage theft. Adding to their burden, low-income workers and their families suffer greater exposure to illness and injury at home and on the job, resulting in reduced life expectancy.
Public health researchers and practitioners are increasingly adopting a "social ecological framework" perspective to respond. A worker is part of a company, a family, a church and a neighborhood, and what happens in one arena affects all the others. Family doctors and community clinics that treat these workers need to appreciate workplace hazards that might explain their symptoms; occupational safety and health personnel need to understand the challenges their employees might encounter in the home or community.
CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Working with partners like you in business, labor, government, and the universities, we strive every day to make work safer for the 9 million men and women who work in the U.S. construction industry!