The Construction Chart Book
Today, we have access to knowledge sources worldwide in a matter of seconds. Yet with all this information, we still seem to have a deficit of facts that we can use with absolute surety of their accuracy. So we take special pleasure in writing a foreword to a book of numbers based in facts.
The Construction Chart Book: The U.S. Construction Industry and Its Workers delivers an assessment of where we stand as an industry, based on the most recent data available from trusted public and private sources. The book covers construction industry economics, demographics, and changes to employment and training, in addition to safety hazards and dangerous chemicals that can compromise life and health. In short, this book examines aspects of construction that affect every man and woman working in our industry.
This sixth edition sheds light on issues that have arisen in the last few years. With facts and charts we see trends and identify issues that affect workers and industry. If you want to know unionization in the construction industry, go to page 12, which tells you that about 1.2 million construction workers were union members in 2016, 100,000 more than that in 2015; and union market share reached 42% to 50% in the Heavy Civil/Industrial sector. Where can you find the number of U.S. construction workers who’ve gone back to work since the economic downturn? Page 20. Page 22 shows the percentage of construction workers who are self-employed dipped from 19% in 2010 to 16%. That change may look like good news, but it means 1.6 million construction workers are still classified under that category in our industry. They aren’t protected by OSHA. When they suffer an injury, they are on their own, with no workers’ compensation to cover medical and lost-time expenses. We also see that while the overall nonfatal injury trend in construction is declining, falls continue to kill or disable construction workers. Fall prevention remains a big challenge for our industry.
Those of us in North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) are proud to point to the book’s publisher: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, a not-for-profit institution created by our organization. CPWR’s research products, whether a report, website, conference summary, or this book, are available online at no charge. We are prouder still to see this information offered to all parties interested in the construction industry – owners, contractors, associations, government, academia, and of course unions and workers, union and non-union alike. CPWR is able to offer this top-quality research through its cooperative agreement with one of our nation’s most important federal agencies, whose work often goes unnoticed, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
As more sections are added to this book over the coming year, take a look at this book – and the work of CPWR. It’s everyone’s business to make our worksites safer and healthier for all.