Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
British Columbia launched Builders Code on March 8, 2019, to address the province-wide issue of skilled-labour shortage by reducing harassment, bullying and hazing on construction sites.
The Builders’ Code – led by the BC Construction Association (BCCA) in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders – expands the definition of construction safety beyond physical hazards to include stress or distraction caused by discrimination, bullying, hazing or harassment. It also defines what constitutes an acceptable worksite and provides employers with tools, training and resources to promote safe and productive work-site behaviour.
“Work-site behaviour is not a woman’s issue, it is a business issue,” says BCCA president Chris Atchison.
The program includes a 10″ x 10″ goal is to have trades women make up 10% of the province’s skilled workforce by 2028, which will translate to adding 9,500 women into the skilled trades in the provinces construction industry and bridge the projected skills gap of 7,900 workers.
Although women, youth and other equity-seeking groups are entering construction trades at a higher rate than in the past, retention rates remain low. First-year retention rates for women apprentices were estimated at less than 50%, compared to 70% for men.
“WorkSafeBC is pleased to support the Builders Code’s Objective of giving contractors the tools they need to address inappropriate worksite behaviour in order to improve worksite safety and reduce the likelihood of workplace incidents across British Columbia,” says Brian Erickson, WorkSafeBC’s interim president and chief executive officer. “Employers, supervisors and workers all share the responsibility to prevent workplace bullying and harassment.”
The Builders Code Pilot will highlight the business and safety implications of work-site behaviour and provide employers with the tools they need to improve retention. Employers can access no-cost posters and policies, training and advice from experts with experience in human-resources management, including mediation and conflict resolution.
“Hazing, bullying and harassment of any employee or co-worker is unacceptable,” says Paul Hill, Pres. of Houle Electric Ltd., one of the first companies in British Columbia to sign the code’s work-site pledge.
Ontario has made changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) in 2010. Stakeholders were consulted at that time and found that most put Violence and Harassment on their top ten list, hence the changes.
The WorkSafeBC has a great reputation for having companies adhere to health and safety law, BUT, the enforcement of the changes will be a challenge to say the least. I hope WorkSafeBC is up to the task. I am betting on them that they are.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.