Career summary

Details for Construction Laborers


Description

Perform tasks involving physical labor at building, highway, and heavy construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, and demolition sites. May operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments. May clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, clean up rubble and debris, and remove asbestos, lead, and other hazardous waste materials. May assist other craft workers.

Tasks

  • Control traffic passing near, in, or around work zones.
  • Clean or prepare construction sites to eliminate possible hazards.
  • Signal equipment operators to facilitate alignment, movement, or adjustment of machinery, equipment, or materials.
  • Read plans, instructions, or specifications to determine work activities.
  • Load, unload, or identify building materials, machinery, or tools, distributing them to the appropriate locations, according to project plans or specifications.
  • Measure, mark, or record openings or distances to layout areas where construction work will be performed.
  • Dig ditches or trenches, backfill excavations, or compact and level earth to grade specifications, using picks, shovels, pneumatic tampers, or rakes.
  • Mix, pour, or spread concrete, using portable cement mixers.
  • Tend pumps, compressors, or generators to provide power for tools, machinery, or equipment or to heat or move materials, such as asphalt.
  • Erect or dismantle scaffolding, shoring, braces, traffic barricades, ramps, or other temporary structures.
  • Provide assistance to craft workers, such as carpenters, plasterers, or masons.
  • Lubricate, clean, or repair machinery, equipment, or tools.
  • Position or dismantle forms for pouring concrete, using saws, hammers, nails, or bolts.
  • Smooth or finish freshly poured cement or concrete, using floats, trowels, screeds, or powered cement finishing tools.
  • Operate jackhammers or drills to break up concrete or pavement.
  • Install sewer, water, or storm drain pipes, using pipe-laying machinery or laser guidance equipment.
  • Operate or maintain air monitoring or other sampling devices in confined or hazardous environments.
  • Mix ingredients to create compounds for covering or cleaning surfaces.
  • Grind, scrape, sand, or polish surfaces, such as concrete, marble, terrazzo, or wood flooring, using abrasive tools or machines.
  • Position, join, align, or seal structural components, such as concrete wall sections or pipes.
  • Tend machines that pump concrete, grout, cement, sand, plaster, or stucco through spray guns for application to ceilings or walls.
  • Spray materials, such as water, sand, steam, vinyl, paint, or stucco, through hoses to clean, coat, or seal surfaces.
  • Apply caulking compounds by hand or caulking guns to protect against entry of water or air.
  • Mop, brush, or spread paints, cleaning solutions, or other compounds over surfaces to clean them or to provide protection.
  • Perform site activities required of green certified construction practices, such as implementing waste management procedures, identifying materials for reuse, or installing erosion or sedimentation control mechanisms.
  • Identify, pack, or transport hazardous or radioactive materials.
  • Raze buildings or salvage useful materials.
  • Place, consolidate, or protect case-in-place concrete or masonry structures.
  • Perform building weatherization tasks, such as repairing windows, adding insulation, or applying weather-stripping materials.
  • Perform construction laborer duties at green building sites, such as renewable energy plants or wind turbine installations.
  • Transport or set explosives for tunnel, shaft, or road construction.
  • Use computers or other input devices to control robotic pipe cutters or cleaners.
  • Apply weather-stripping to reduce energy loss.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

Skills

Related careers

  • Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters
  • Highway Maintenance Workers
  • Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons
  • Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
  • Stonemasons
  • Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters