Many construction workers in nonstandard arrangements

Nearly a third of all construction workers are employed in nonstandard work arrangements, according to a study recently released by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

The report, Nonstandard Work Arrangements in the Construction Industry, found that a quarter of construction workers were classified as independent contractors and about 8% were classified as temporary workers, day laborers, on-call workers or contract workers provide by other firms. While some studies have speculated that these construction workers suffer a disproportionate number of injuries and illnesses, the report noted that data on these workers is insufficient and emphasized the need to collect information on this population to identify ways to protect these workers from occupational injuries and illnesses. Data for the study came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 Contingent Worker Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

Nonstandard workers account for about 3.1 million construction laborers, with about 2.3 million classified as independent contractors or self-employed workers, with the remainder identifying themselves as day laborers, temporary help agency workers, workers provided by contract firms and wage and salary workers in temporary jobs, according to the study.

Construction was identified as having the second-highest percentage of workers in nonstandard work arrangements, and those workers were nearly all male with a median age of 47. Workers in classified as independent contractors or alternative work arrangements also tended to be less educated (32% did not have a high school diploma), Hispanic (66%), foreign born (40%), without health insurance (46%) and lower-income, with just 26% of these workers reporting a family income of $75,000 or greater.

The researchers noted that these factors can lead to adverse health effects, and shows the need for collecting data on these employees in order to “accurately understand complex, overlapping vulnerabilities and to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses among these workers.”

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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