Jessi Dhanju (left), John Connors, Harold Bloomenthal and Chris Atchinson all sign an acceptable workplace pledge after the creation of the Builders Code Advisor role came together from the work of local and provincial partners. (File contributed/ BC Construction Association)

New role created to mediate on-site harassment for construction employers

Across the province Builders Code Advisors will work to retain more employees

Construction employers will now have a new, third-party resource to help address diversity or harassment issues on their work sites. The move aims to reduce stress and distraction in the workplace, and to retain more female employees.

A large portion of construction companies are comprised of smaller teams, with over 23,000 companies across B.C. made up of 20 employees or less. These smaller teams often lack the human resources or mediation skills required to address inappropriate work behaviour. This prompted the BC Construction Association (BCCA), the BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) and the BCCA Employee Benefits Trust and several provincial partners to develop a Builders Code and a team of Builders Code Advisors.

ALSO READ: Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

“As the Builders Code was being developed, it became very clear that most construction employers want to improve the culture on their work sites but as small businesses are operating without the knowledge, skills or resources they need” said Chris Atchison, president of the BCCA, in a statement. “The Builders Code helps bridge that gap and improve safety and productivity on B.C. work sites.”

The first Builders Code Advisor to be announced is Jessi Dhanju, who most recently worked at the University of Victoria’s Equity and Human Rights Office. He will work across Vancouver Island, while three more advisors will be hired to cover Kelowna, Vancouver and Prince George.

“Oftentimes, it can be difficult to recognize and navigate hazing, harassment and bullying situations,” Dhanju said. “The Builders Code is here for employers looking to improve their worksite culture and provide the safest and most productive environment they can.”

ALSO READ: Construction companies challenge ‘illegal’ B.C. union restrictions

For Victoria-based company Bricklock Surfacing & Landscape, Builders Code Advisors will play a key role.

“While I can run any job site you want to put me on, with HR issues I’m a little out of my depth,” said foreman John Connors. “I understand people and I understand the need for clear diversity policies that we can all understand and support, but I’m not an HR expert. The Builders Code free policies provide real value, and having Jessi available to advise will make it easier to take information from the website to the worksite.”

For more information, you can visit builderscode.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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