Racial Bias, Hate Graffiti, and Competition for Construction Workers: A Solution for Consideration

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Racial Bias, Hate Graffiti, and Competition for Construction Workers: A Solution for Consideration

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The construction industry has seen an increase in acts of racial bias, hate graffiti, and other forms of vandalism in recent months. In addition, staffing construction crews has been increasingly tricky, with some industry publications stating a shortage of approximately 650,000 workers this year. These factors present a situation where a solution is needed to deter negative behavior, monitor actions, maintain workplace compliance, and attract qualified construction workers. A solution for consideration is a User Accountability Restroom with access control and surveillance measures. 

In an October 2022 issue of Construction Dive, the CEO of Turner Construction Company, Peter Davoren, gets personally involved when a bias-motivated event occurs. He has instituted zero tolerance for hate, and many examples support this. That could be a factor in Turner Construction Company being the largest construction company in the U.S. 

Racial bias cannot be tolerated in society, especially on construction sites. Racial discrimination presents low productivity, heightened anxiety, elevated violence, retaliation, and other actions that are counterproductive to construction progress while violating human rights. The outward signs of bias in forms such as graffiti result in several outcomes. Graffiti also costs the construction company and work site since it is a form of property destruction. 

Six CEOs are leading the way by drawing a line on hate. The CEOs of Turner Construction Company, Mortenson, Gilbane Building, DPR Construction, McCarthy Building Companies, and Clark Construction Group are the founding sponsors of this initiative. Industry data states that these six companies employ over 213,000 workers (employees and trade partners) and represent over $42 billion in revenue (2020). They are making a difference and leading the way so their construction sites can be places of dignity and respect. 

The shortage of construction workers is a fundamental problem for successful construction companies. Historically, companies competed for quality tradespeople and talent by increasing compensation. That philosophy has shifted to becoming the employer of choice. One avenue of becoming the employer of choice is providing a safe, respectful and enjoyable workplace. To this end, one area of concentration is the restroom space. Many acts of hate and violence have been witnessed in these areas. 

A solution to deter this negative behavior is to implement access-controlled restrooms. Portable Solutions Group has addressed these problems by designing and manufacturing a state-of-the-art “User Accountability Restroom” (patent pending). These units provide these features and benefits to the worker and company on their construction site:  

  • Modular fabrication and construction 
  • Access control, using the same security as site access 
  • Video monitoring 
  • Potable water 
  • Connections for sewer discharge 
  • Separate stalls/restroom units with individual exterior access 
  • Specially designed safety features 
  • User identification verification via biometric and facial recognition 
  • Data collection on entry/exit time 
  • Notification/alarms of occupancy 
  • Anti-graffiti wall finishes 
  • Hot and cold potable water 
  • Individual registers for heating and cooling, personal comfort 
  • Individual exhaust fans 
  • Automatic photos of the restroom before use to monitor pre/post-condition 
  • Integrated music 

This solution for consideration addresses the issues of racial bias and hate graffiti, and provides a safe, enjoyable place to work. We must provide a haven for workers that gives them peace of mind without fearing ridicule or being targeted. This solution offers a viable option to mitigate negative behaviors.

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