Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Promoting Vaccination Among Small Construction Firms

Apr 15, 2021

Promoting Vaccination 451x451Construction work — deemed essential during the ongoing pandemic — requires that work continues in-person, placing workers are at greater risk of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.i

  • Over 90% of construction firms in the United States employ 20 or fewer workers.ii

  • The number of total lost work hours by full-time construction workers due to their own health increased significantly from 71.6 million during March 2019 through February 2019 to 84.9 during March 2020 through February 2021.

  • During March 2020 through February 2021 (a year since the start of the pandemic), the estimated cost of lost work hours associated with the COVID-19 pandemic due to workers’ own health among U.S. full-time construction workers was $360 million.iii

  • For the 2020–2021 season, construction occupations experienced a 3.43% absenteeism rate compared with 2.32% for all other occupations.iv

Unplanned absences due to illness are among the costliest impacts of COVID-19 within essential workplaces.  And with quarantine requirements, unplanned absences become a 10-day loss of productivity versus one day of planned (or even unplanned) time off.

In no secret that employees are the most valuable assets an organization has. When workers are out sick or absent, it impacts every aspect of the business, resulting in a slew of indirect costs such as:

  • Training replacement employees

  • Increased stress

  • Lowered morale

  • Reduced productivity

  • Increased mandatory overtime

  • Increased number of safety issues

  • Increased employee health problems

  • Higher turnover rates

Why is it important that construction workers get vaccinated?

Getting workers to receive their vaccination is one of the most important steps toward ending the pandemic, getting back to life as we knew it, and for maintaining business activities.

By providing information about COVID-19 vaccination and establishing supportive policies and practices, employers can help increase vaccine uptake among essential workers.

Read more about vaccine hesitancy among construction workers.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Vaccines site.


i NIOSH Blog, “COVID-19 Poses Big Challenges for Small Construction Firms,” at:  https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2021/03/09/construction_covid/

ii Dong, X. S., Wang, X., Katz, R., Trahan Cain, C., Rinehart, R. (2018). Fatal injuries among small construction establishments. Available at: publications_Quarter3-QDR-2018_0.pdf (cpwr.com)  

iii Compilation from U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS) Questionnaire. Available at: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/technical-documentation/questionnaires.html.

iv NIOSH Absenteeism in the Workplace at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/absences/default.html