February 6, 2023
Many professionals in the construction industry, such as architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors, must work together. Employees in the construction industry, like employees in other industries, must report work that is not performed correctly, is unsafe or violates the law. Most of the time, professionals have a legal or moral duty to tell a co-worker, employer, or client.
Despite this, there are plenty of problems, especially in the construction industry, on a global level where everything from modern slavery to problems with corruption and theft are unfortunately not uncommon. However, these are things that can largely be countered and prevented with a good whistleblowing solution in place.
Common problems in the construction industry
Each industry has its own unique problematic areas, in the construction industry it is mainly safety regulations and concerns with modern slavery and corruption that are prevalent.
Most reputable construction companies do thorough background checks on new hires. But you shouldn't get too comfortable. Documents can be forged, processes can be manipulated or falsified, and even honest workers can do things they shouldn't. Modern slavery can occur as indentured laborers and subcontractors are so common.
Salaries can easily be redirected or sent through someone else. It is also important to hold your suppliers to the same high standards that you have set for yourself, as less reliable companies may ignore labor abuses to be more competitive.
To stop labor abuse and modern slavery from happening in your workforce or supply chain, you need the right policies, practices, training and a user-friendly whistleblowing solution to report them.
Violations of health & safety rules
Due to the high-risk nature of some work carried out in the construction industry, it is clear that health and safety is critical. Organizations therefore put significant effort into making sure their policies and procedures are in good shape and regularly updated. Risk assessments, good training and providing the right personal protective equipment are all part of this. Unfortunately, it still fails.
Some accidents may seem inevitable, but most will occur as a result of health and safety regulations not being followed. Most security breaches happen when people get too comfortable in different situations, so it's important to have training for new hires and on an ongoing basis.
It is also indispensable to have good ways for people to report suspected irregularities and to foster a speak-up culture. Reporting an incident gives you as an employer a chance to make sure it doesn't happen again and ideally minimize the damage, whether that means reviewing policies and procedures, training, or taking disciplinary or direct action.
Theft and corruption
For example, the highly complicated supply chains that the construction industry needs to make it easy for procurement fraud. Theft of materials is another way workers often make extra money. Materials are taken out of sight, perhaps because they are over-ordered or written off as damaged, and then sold by an employee.
Also read: 5 examples of misconduct in the workplace
How these problems in the construction industry can be prevented – with whistleblowing
Thanks to a proper whistleblower function, such as Visslan, you can ensure that your employees are protected in the best possible way. This starts with a good whistleblowing policy that informs employees, and covers the different types of problems that may occur.
In addition to this, it is also critical to provide whistleblower channels that protect the privacy and identity of employees, so they feel confident in reporting wrongdoing. This also applies to follow-up of the case all the way until a final decision is made, and the case is closed.
Tackling the issues in the construction industry naturally requires a comprehensive approach, both in society and internally within the organization. And even if whistleblower functions are only part of the solution, it can be a simple, cost-effective and proven effective way to counter irregularities.