A universal concern that most parents hold for their children is safety; and safety concerns persist even after children have grown into adults. Construction is a field infamous for its risk of accidents resulting in permanent bodily harm or death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that there are about 3 deaths per day in the field and even alludes to construction’s “fatal four.” The following four categories account for the most frequent causes of accidental deaths during construction work.
Being struck by an object (9.6%)
Compression injuries (7.2%)
The notion that three people die per day, on average, from construction-related accidents is enough to give most parents pause. The question of whether or not you should trust your son to work in construction falls on your personal understanding of your son’s maturity and personal characteristics, as well as the actual location of his workplace. It’s important to base your trust both in your son and on the level of safety compliance in his workplace.
On Placing Trust
As parents, we’d all like to believe that our children are perfect. Of course, behind our rose-tinted perspectives lies the realistic fact that no child is perfect. As parents, it’s easy to harp on a child’s mistakes or areas where they can stand to improve, especially when there is the possibility that those areas may impact their health and potential success on a job. But often, this anxiety can be quelled from simply talking to our children about their goals and motivations. Understanding a child’s goals and pursuits makes it easier to lend support. In other words, you’ll want to figure out why and how a career in construction fits with the skills and life trajectory of your son. A big part of finding the right career relates to having done the necessary preparation beforehand. Talking with your child will help you understand their perspective and rationale and will help ease your doubts and uncertainties; initiating a conversation also creates a good opportunity to share your concerns.
Being Aware of Construction and Safety Considerations
The principal concern when it comes to working a new construction job are the risks involved in the installations required in construction processes. You’ll want to make sure that your son is fully aware of both the frequency and the types of accidents that affect construction workers everyday. The categories of the fatal four mentioned above should be one of the concerns you discuss.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your son is aware of the fact many construction companies do not adhere to the mandated OSHA standards of safety despite the legal consequences. In fact, OSHA lists the ten most common violations on their site, a few of these are shown below.
Hazard communication standards
Control of hazardous energy
You should emphasize the importance of keeping your eyes open on the job because of the life and death nature that small mistakes and lapses in safety regulations can precipitate. OSHA has published a list of useful topics around safety concerns and a brief description of each. Familiarizing yourself with the relevant aspects of this list along with the proper handling of common equipment will significantly reduce the risk of severe injury or death.
Make Concrete Future Plans
Google’s Larry Page once said “Companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” What he means is that instilling future plans is often overlooked or sacrificed for solving current issues. Individuals looking to carve out careers for themselves often back themselves into corners because they fail to consider the long-term effects of their career choices. Every parent, ideally, wants their children to embark on careers that have long-term growth potential. If you son is enthusiastic about the idea of going into construction now, he may not be thinking about how this career path will shape his life ten years from now. As a parent, it might be up to you to encourage your child to consider the potential for future career advancement from any entry-level construction position he accepts.
While it’s impossible to predict the future, asking your son to map out a general career trajectory will not only ensure that he not only thinks about the pros and cons of his choices, but also that he is prepared to communicate his concerns and goals with future employers.
When you’ve talked with your son about the nature of what a construction career entails, as well as the safety risks, and have encouraged him to think seriously about a long-term plan, it will likely be much easier for you to feel confident in his choice.