Cell Phone Ownership and Cellular Text/Email Capabilities Among Temporary and Payroll Construction Workers

Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, Kevin J. Moore, Juanita J. Chalmers, Katerina M. Santiago, Melissa Baniak, Melissa M. Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: With high rates of temporary workers and a transient worker population, the U.S. construction workforce presents a challenge for long-term research and outreach activities. Increasing availability of affordable cell phone technologies may provide an opportunity for research follow-up among construction workers once they leave the worksite. Using pilot study survey data we characterize and examine the association of cell phone technology ownership and cellular text/email services among a non-probabilistic sample of payroll and temporary construction workers. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to administer a one-time paper-based anonymous survey to construction workers working at construction sites in Florida, USA. The survey featured questions on sociodemographic characteristics, occupational history, cell phone technology ownership, and cellular text/email services capabilities. Results: Among the 223 construction worker survey respondents, 31.4% identified as temporary workers and 68.6% were on payroll and 87.4% owned a cell phone. Construction workers who own a cell phone had greater than a high school education (28.9% vs. 25.0%; p = 0.019), made >$30,000/year (27.1% vs. 14.8%; p = 0.011), had same cell phone number for >1 year (74.4% vs. 40.7%; p = 0.001), and were employed as a payroll worker (71.0% vs. 50.0%; p = 0.037). Temporary construction workers compared to their payroll counterparts were significantly less likely to have email services on their cell phone [unadjusted-odds ratio 0.41 (95% CI: 0.17–0.97)]. Conclusion: Cell phone ownership and smartphone-enabled technologies such as email/texting capabilities are higher among payroll than temporary construction workers. Further research on frequency of cell phone use and types of email/texting services used by construction workers are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Mar 12 2020


  • cell phones
  • construction
  • construction workers
  • technology
  • temporary workers
  • vulnerable worker population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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