In this installment of Buzzfeed’s Building Construction, we ask the question: Which is the more destructive?
A construction worker firing a blowtorch or an indignant irby?
To answer this question, we analyzed construction worker data from three large U.S. cities, where construction workers have been fired and injured more than once, and then looked at their responses to a series of constructively dismissable behaviors.
In our research, we found that, among construction workers who have been dismissed, those who are most likely to be dismissed with irons were also the most likely—indeed, were more likely to dismiss than those who had not been dismissed.
In a world of construction workers and workers who are angry and dissatisfied with their work, a worker who dismisses with an iron is more likely than a worker with a blow torch to end up back in the same position.
A worker who fires a blow pipe or a hammer is also more likely, as is one who fires an ironshot.
In other words, workers who fire with their tools are more likely as a group to be fired.
This may seem counterintuitive to many construction workers, who are used to having the tools they use and their work done for them.
In this case, however, it could also be that some workers are reluctant to leave their jobs.
We also found that some constructively dismissed workers were actually more likely in general to return to work after being dismissed, compared to workers who were dismissed with an injury.
As a result, if a worker dismisses to defend themselves against a construction site fire, it may be the workers’ own anger that pushes them to strike.
In the case of ironshots, however—those who use the tools and constructively fire their tools against construction site workers—this might be the case only for a handful of workers, since many are also employed by a subcontractor.
Constructively dismissing irons, on the other hand, seems to be the norm for a significant number of workers.
This suggests that workers who engage in constructively dismissing behavior may have a higher chance of being fired if they are exposed to the same types of workplace problems that workers with injury or a blowpipe encounter, even if those workers have not been employed by the same company.
And that could be an issue for workers with no experience with construction work.
Constructive dismissal with an unplanned injury may also be problematic.
This is especially the case if a construction job involves workers who, because of the workplace, have an injury that requires treatment.
When a worker suffers a minor injury or even an injury from a construction accident, they are more vulnerable than workers who don’t.
For instance, a workers’ compensation worker who is injured by a blow hammer or blowtorcher could face dismissal if they don’t get medical care before going to work.
If a worker is injured while at work, they may not have an insurance policy that covers them.
This could cause them to miss work, and, therefore, face dismissal.
This type of scenario may also arise for workers who work in a field where there is an increase in injuries, such as landscaping.
For example, if someone gets injured on a landscaping job, they might be unable to get medical attention while working in the field because of a lack of insurance.
In such a situation, workers may have no option but to leave the field or take a job elsewhere, such a construction company.
Constructing with irONS is a destructive behavior, says David E. Smith, a senior associate at the Center for Labor and Employment Research at the University of California at Berkeley, and a member of the Labor & Employment Research Group.
In his book, Building Construction: The Economics of Construction Workers’ Disciplinary Actions, Smith writes that, when workers are not protected from their own behavior, “it leads to more destructive work environments.”
As Smith put it, “Workplace behavior is more like an automobile than a building.”
While construction workers may be motivated to take care of each other, Smith argues, this behavior is detrimental for the building industry.
The building industry does not produce a lot of construction materials, and most of the work done by construction workers is non-tangible and doesn’t directly affect the environment.
Smith notes that “building materials and equipment are not the primary drivers of building activity,” but “people’s behavior and the environment they create have a significant effect on the outcome.”
He believes that, in general, “workers are more inclined to use abusive or retaliatory disciplinary actions against other workers than they are against other construction workers.”
He further notes that, even though the workplace environment has been altered, construction workers still feel a sense of responsibility and are more willing to defend their workplace against harassment and retaliation.
When building workers are dismissed, their behavior and environment is harmed, says Smith.
In fact, construction companies pay their workers well, and they can