Construction leads on adopting a SOS Hand Signal for victims of modern slavery

As the trade association and training body for the safety netting and temporary safety systems industry, FASET aims to keep right up to date with the latest news from around the construction industry.

We are pleased to share the following launch of a new hand signal to help fight modern slavery in the construction sector.

The hand signal, launched by Stronger Together on Anti-Slavery Day (18 October 2021), is a new tool to empower victims of modern slavery to get help, and is recognised and supported by CITB, Saint-Gobain, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and CIOB.

Construction has been identified as high-risk for modern slavery by various bodies, including the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, and the sector is increasingly taking measures to prevent this most extreme form of labour exploitation, whilst identifying and supporting victims.

Detecting victims, who are often ‘hidden in plain sight’, is a particular challenge as victims are often unable to communicate easily for reasons including being under threat and intimidation in the workplace, and/or may not speak English as a first language. It is important therefore that victims can use a non-verbal signal as necessary, enabling them to seek help discretely without raising suspicion or placing themselves or others in danger. This is a particular challenge faced on construction sites, but is shared across many other workplaces.

The sponsors of Stronger Together’s Construction Programme, led by Michaela Skodova, set out to develop a simple and universal signal that could be used by victims on construction sites and other workplaces.

Following a number of focus groups, the Hand SOS signal was selected.

This signal for help was originally launched by the Canadian Women’s Foundation as a simple, one-handed sign that someone can silently use to indicate that they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.

To support the introduction of this signal, we have developed a range of free resources available from the Stronger Together website including:

  • A downloadable poster to place around the workplace
  • A simple toolbox talk to raise awareness of modern slavery
  • A multi-language video and slides for inclusion in on-site induction.
Contact Us
close slider