The job duties of a general laborer vary. They may include cleaning and preparing a job site, loading and delivering materials, and using a variety of tools and machines, such as blowtorches, forklifts, levels, lifts, power drills, grinders, saws, pressure washers, and water spraying equipment. Laborers set up and take down ladders, scaffolding, and other temporary structures. They help carpenters, masons, and other specialized contractors. At road construction sites, general laborers may control traffic. They set up markers, cones and barricades and may flag vehicles to control the flow of traffic.
General construction laborers must have physical strength, hand-eye coordination, and endurance. Laborers must also be able to concentrate on their tasks. The ability to understand and communicate information is also essential. Some tools and machines are computerized, requiring technical knowledge to use. Computer skills, estimating skills, and the ability to communicate in both English and Spanish can help general laborers advance in their profession.