Money & Business

“Don’t Be a Tool”: Builders Group Uses Animation to Fight Harassment

By / Apr 11, 2019 (Builders Code)

A construction industry campaign out of British Columbia aims to educate workers about bullying, harassment, and hazing. Its method: edgy animation.

If you’re trying to make a point that you want a certain audience to listen to, sometimes it’s best to get a little edgy.

That’s the thinking of the British Columbia, Canada-based BC Construction Association (BCCA) and the nonprofit Builders Code, which sets codes of conduct for the province’s construction sites. The two groups came together to promote awareness about worksite harassment, bullying, and hazing using an animated campaign with an edgy name: “Don’t Be a Tool.”

Working with the communications agency Rethink, the groups spearheaded a set of videos that feature bleeped-out profanities uttered by a wrench, a tipped-over port-a-potty (the wrench is also involved with that), and a sexist roll of measuring tape. Not exactly polite.

The message goes beyond the animated tools and social media images, of course. BCCA President Chris Atchison said the campaign underlines what is acceptable conduct at worksites, especially as the building trades look to diversify their workforce, which is 95 percent male.

“There’s no question that the 180,000 tradespeople in B.C.’s construction workforce will recognize the real-life situations that informed this campaign,” Atchison said in a news release. “Our industry is keen to be more diverse across all demographics including age and gender, and while most employees are well aware of the behavior that’s expected of them by their employers, you could say we’re working to remove all doubt about what’s acceptable on a worksite.”

The campaign also speaks to the broader cultural context.  “Just as the #metoo and the Time’s Up movements have spread exponentially to bring much-needed attention to the harassment and discrimination of women in the workplace, it’s hoped the #Don’tBeATool campaign can help improve the worksite culture in B.C.’ s construction industry,” the release says.

BCCA COO Lisa Stevens, who helped develop the Builders Code, noted that the groups wanted to address the issue in a way that workers would hear.

“We wanted a simple, engaging campaign that would help us demonstrate the need for change in a nonthreatening way,” Stevens said. “Our goal is to spark some productive conversations and ultimately lead employers to adopt the Builders Code.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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