A new report from a local advocacy group for construction workers paints a picture of a dangerous profession and less-than-caring employers.
Building Austin, Building Injustice, released by the group Workers Defense Project that’s based in the Texas city, says construction companies are shifting the burden of caring for injured workers to the public because low-wage workers often depend on government support, hospitals and charities.
The study found that violations of workplace regulations are common in the industry, including lack of PPE such as harnesses and hard hats.
Of more than 300 construction workers interviewed, 20% reported suffering an injury that required medical attention at some point during their careers. The report also claims 45% earned poverty-level wages and 64% received no OSHA safety training.
Construction representatives defended their industry in the Austin American-Statesman.
“We employ a full-time safety director to assist members with safety services and offer classes in both Spanish and English,” said Phil Thoden, president of the Austin chapter of Associated Contractors of America.
The report is available online here.