Leena Begum works as a Health, Safety and Wellbeing Coordinator for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km sewer tunnel, running from Acton in west London to Newham in east London, that will help tackle sewage overflows into the River Thames.
Leena has helped design two innovative items of protective clothing (PPE) for women on construction sites who observe the hijab and the burka. As a Muslim woman working in construction, Leena has experienced how difficult it can be to adhere to her religious values whilst also complying with health and safety requirements on a construction site and wanted to address this.
Encouraging more Muslim women to come into the construction industry
As a Muslim woman working in construction, I have experienced how difficult it can be to adhere to my religious values whilst also complying with health and safety requirements on a construction site. Raising the awareness of the hijab will encourage more Muslim women to come into the construction industry.
I had a lot of support and encouragement from colleagues and it’s been so great to see the designs come to life. I hope this helps promote the image of construction as an inclusive, diverse industry to work in.
BMB [a joint venture between Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall] has been really supportive of the idea and I have received positive feedback from all across the Tideway project.
Promoting a positive, inclusive image
This is really exciting and I hope my idea promotes a positive, inclusive image, not just for BMB and the Tideway project, but for the construction industry as a whole.
These issues are not only work-related; they have encouraged me to tackle issues I have faced outside of work since I left school. Their support and motivation has given me the ability to participate in sports again, something I haven’t been able to do since leaving school due to the lack of modest sportswear on the market and for this I am thankful.
- In 2017 Tideway rolled out specially-designed PPE [personal protective equipment] for women, including maternity-wear, and this latest development during National Inclusion Week marks a considerable step forward in PPE inclusivity.
- The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a 25km sewer tunnel, running from Acton in west London to Newham in east London, that will help tackle sewage overflows into the River Thames.
- Construction has been divided into three sections – East, West and Central – with each section being built by a different joint-venture. The west section is being constructed by a joint venture of BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty (BMB).