Safety and Health Implications of COVID-19 on the United States Construction Industry

  • Sang D Choi University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
  • John A. Staley University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Keywords: Covid-19; safety; health; construction industry; vulnerable workers

Abstract

The construction industry is an essential U.S. business sector, yet it suffers from an elevated risk for work-related fatalities and injuries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this risk, as well as shone a light on the severe economic/financial/labor burdens and safety/health concerns the sector has faced. As such, the purpose of this review paper is to synthesize the safety and health issues associated with COVID-19 pandemic in the construction industry, and summarize the challenges and opportunities for construction stakeholders in implementing COVID-19 safety and health measures in the construction industry. This paper has explored the challenges in construction and COVID-19; COVID-19 knowledge, preventative behaviors, and risk perception among construction workers; recommendations/practical implications/preventive measures; and COVID-19 education in compliance/guidance, strategies to combat impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, smart digital technologies, and worker wellbeing and work-related quality of life (e.g., mental health). It is warranted that the construction industry needs to take better steps in preparing for future, man-made or natural disaster events, and subsequent acute and chronic disease risk, in order to yield a healthier/safer construction workplace.

Author Biographies

Sang D Choi, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
John A. Staley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Director of Outreach and Continuing Education North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center BSPH Core Faculty, Gillings School of Global Public Health Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Published
2021-04-09