Right to Respect will provide equivalent to firm’s health and safety policy

Balfour Beatty has launched a new “right to respect” initiative, designed to bring inclusive behaviour within the business to the same level of scrutiny as health and safety.

The programme, which was piloted with 1,000 of the firm’s employees last year, will help develop a shared understanding of boundaries at work and how to challenge unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.

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Paul Raby, HR director at Balfour Beatty

The scheme will be launched in phases this year across the domestic operations of the UK’s biggest contractor.

“Ours is an industry plagued by historical misconceptions; long heralded as typically male dominated, steeped in the imagery of spades in the ground and hard, manual labour,” said Paul Raby, the group’s HR director.

“But while a large proportion of our workforce is out on site achieving incredible feats of engineering and construction every day, the construction and infrastructure is progressively diverse and increasingly modern.

>> Balfour Beatty launches fresh site safety initiative to run throughout September

“We’ve come a long way from some of the outdated attitudes many of us once knew, not just in our industry but in wider society, and so much the better. But in this fast-paced world we all need a bit of help to understand where the new lines are.”

He said the “right to respect” scheme would provide an inclusivity-focused equivalent to the firm’s “zero harm” policy – which covers on site health and safety issues – and help “change the perceptions that have loomed over our industry for far too long”.