Why Sexual Harassment on Construction Sites is a Safety Issue

“What I’m starting to see is the evolution of safety to encompass more of emotional and psychological safety. Because if you don’t – whether it’s because of something that happened inside or outside the workplace – it can impact your physical safety. Khan said.

Microaggressions can accumulate over time and create overwhelming psychological (and physical) risk. More often than not, women experience some form of workplace harassment and choose not to do or say anything about it. “It’s like a continuous paper cut […] Over time, this continuous shutdown builds up, affecting your ability to work,” says Daniela Xavier, the company’s health, safety and environment coordinator. Xavier is also a National Construction Safety Officer (NCSO).

She says bullying “breaks you down and makes you feel unsafe and disrespected”.

Over the past few years, EllisDon has worked to improve its inclusiveness. “In 2020, we reviewed all of our policies and procedures to make sure they were up to snuff,” Khan says. With the help of WomanACT, we will again look at these specifically from the perspective of women and sexual harassment and carry out a climate assessment, to better understand how women in the organization are feeling at the site level.

EllisDon created 2gether, a volunteer organization within the company that “supports and encourages inclusion,” says Xavier.