According to a Construction News survey, 71% of our workforce felt they could not be open about their sexuality on site and many LGBT workers felt their sexuality at work hindered their career development, with around 51% claiming their sexuality prevented them from progressing their careers in the industry. One respondent, who identified as a gay man, said he had felt driven out of the industry due to the nature of the construction working environment.
During a talk on site during Mental Health awareness week, we asked operatives to raise their hand if they felt the industry did not support homosexuality and every hand in the room went up. We have found that a high proportion of visits to our site nurse are from managers and operatives confiding about their sexuality – many of which had been battling this within the industry for a long period of time.
We have realised a need of creating a network within our industry to raise awareness on LGBT workers and the problems they face daily. We need to break the stigma in our workplace and make this more comfortable to people of all genders and sexual orientations.
To show our support, St George have rebranded our OBF logo to reflect the pride colours and provided all operatives and managers with a sticker of this logo for all hard hats.
During the time of Gay Pride in London on 7 July 2018 we issued the site team with rainbow laces and redesigned the mesh hoarding panels to show the pride colours and the social media campaign hashtags of #loveconstruction #lovewins and #havepride – this is to show the site team and wider community our commitment to the cause and breaking the stigma.
We have also arranged drop-in sessions via our site nurses and mental health first aiders to provide a platform for anyone on site to discuss all things surrounding mental health and LGBT awareness.
Monitor Report. St George. London. October 2018.