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Edward Hardy, chief executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme

Mind your language!

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) publishes 'Spotlight on...' initiative focusing on offensive language in construction industry

Posted by Dave Higgitt | October 25, 2014 | People, policy, politics, money

The Scheme's 'Spotlight on...' series aims to look at different areas associated with improving the image of construction, and hopes to raise awareness among registered sites, companies and suppliers on how they can help with the issue. 

Earlier this year a survey by the CITB revealed that over half of people working in the industry had heard sexist, racist or ageist language in the last 12 months and that 14% heard it at least once a week.  Nearly half (48%) heard homophobic language. 

Most incidents were described as ‘banter’, but 17% described what they heard as patronising and six per cent as direct insults.  

The Scheme recommends three ways that the industry can improve the language used on sites: have clear policies in place that clearly state what is unacceptable, be proactive in educating and informing people about what is unacceptable and create a culture where people are comfortable to come forward and where they will be taken seriously. 

Edward Hardy, chief executive of the CCS, comments: “The construction industry has had a reputation for bad language and sexist behaviour which affects employees and the public but we have seen improvements. Our monitors have reported positive developments in the last few years but there is much work to be done in the face of these statistics showing that it’s still prevalent. And while some of it may be classed as ‘banter’, it may offend other members of staff and the public.” 

Edward continues: “The use of inappropriate language is part of the broader topic of equality and diversity which is covered by legislation so everyone has access to guidance if they need it. It is essential that everyone working in the industry understands the effect that using inappropriate language can have on the reputation of the industry. We can all work together to improve this aspect of the industry which affects the public and employees alike.” 

'Spotlight on... language' is an online portal providing the industry with information, advice, and links to other organisations and bodies which will enable anyone to find out more about tackling inappropriate, offensive and foul language and how it forms part of wider equality and diversity legislation.

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