How healthy are you? This week NCE and Polypipe Civils launch a campaign to raise awareness of the risks of heart disease among construction workers.
Are you an ultra-fit engineer who cycles or jogs to and from work? Or do you prefer to take things a bit easier and start the day with a fried breakfast? Whatever your lifestyle, how aware are you of the risks of heart disease to you and your colleagues?
Over the next few months NCE will be finding out how healthy its readers are and offering advice from experts to help you learn more about looking after your heart.
The campaign coincides with the launch by Polypipe Civils of a year of activities to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
“We realised that, while site safety is of paramount importance to the UK construction industry, it does not necessarily go far enough in promoting a more healthy way of life,” says Polypipe Civils managing director Glen Sabin. “We wanted to support a British charity and help to fundamentally change the way the industry views the issue of health.”
While no-one questions the importance of ensuring that sites and workplaces are fundamentally safe, the site safety message often overshadows the question of keeping the construction industry’s workforce healthy, and one of the biggest risks to both manual and non-manual workers in construction comes from heart disease.
A recent snapshot of building workers by Constructing Better Health found that almost 10% had high blood pressure and 16% had a body mass index (BMI) over 30 - both major risk factors for coronary heart disease.
That study showed that the risk increased considerably with age.
Polypipe Civils - manufacturer of below ground plastic products - says it is “keen to help put the spotlight on health within the construction industry”, as well as aiding the work carried out by the British Heart Foundation.
The firm’s year-long “Polypipe Run” campaign is linked to the launch of its new Ridgistorm-XL pipes, and includes a charity raffle to win a Mini Cooper S, which can fit inside the largest pipe in the range. Alongside the main prize there will also be monthly prize draws to win a weekend break at one of 56 spa hotels across the UK, with all proceeds from the raffle going to the British Heart Foundation.
“This campaign provides a good fit for us as a British manufacturer,” explains Sabin. “We wanted to create maximum impact for the campaign, and the raffle gives us a great opportunity to raise as much money as possible for the British Heart Foundation. The Mini is one of the great symbols of Britain and we’re sure people will be excited by the campaign and raise money for such a worthy charity.”
Raffle tickets cost £2 each - all of which goes to the charity - and can be purchased by logging on to www.polypipewms.co.uk/heart. Everyone who buys a ticket or texts MINI Y16YGB to 70099 will automatically
be entered into the draw for the Mini Cooper S, and each month one ticket holder will win a spa break.
As part of the campaign, Polypipe Civils will also be exhibiting on two stands at the Infrastructure Show from 18-20 October (IF-44 and IJ-58). Visitors will be able to see the Mini raffle prize at first hand and take part in a fun football competition.
You will also be able to get your blood pressure measured at the show, and on 19 October British Heart Foundation heart health project manager Deborah Auty will be talking about the importance of heart health within the context of the construction industry.
“We wanted to give visitors a chance to talk about the campaign and see the work that we’re doing with the British Heart Foundation,” says Sabin. “Although we want the industry to take note of the campaign, and support us to raise awareness of health issues, we also want it to be fun.”
In early 2011 Polypipe Civils will be taking the Polypipe Run campaign on the road, hosting roadshows at its distributors throughout the country.
Alongside Polypipe Civils’ fundraising activities, NCE will be trying to find out more about the heart health of the construction industry. You can play your part by filling in our anonymous online questionnaire at www.nce.co.uk/heart. The results of this survey will help us understand how healthy the industry is and who is at most risk.
“We know heart disease is a big problem among the population in general, but very little is known about the health of the construction industry,” says NCE editor Antony Oliver. “While we know that some engineers keep themselves very fit and healthy, others may be at risk from stress, or lifestyle factors like diet and lack of exercise. Hopefully this survey will help us to understand if people working in the industry are aware of the dangers of heart disease and what they can do to reduce the risk.”
● To donate £2 to the British Heart Foundation and enter the raffle for the Mini Cooper S and a spa break go to www.polypipewms.co.uk/heart or text MINI Y16YGB to 70099
● To help NCE collect information on the health of the industry complete the questionnaire at www.nce.co.uk/heart
● To find out more about keeping your heart healthy go to www.nhs.co.uk/conditions/coronary-heart-disease, www.bhf.org.uk or www.constructingbetterheath.co.uk
You are more at risk of coronary heart disease if you:
● Have high blood pressure
● Have a high blood cholesterol level
● Do not take regular exercise
● Have a thrombosis
● Have diabetes
● Are obese or overweight
● Have a family history of heart attack or angina.
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits. If your coronary arteries become narrow due to a build up of these deposits, the blood supply to your heart will be restricted. This can cause angina (chest pains).
Complete blockage of a coronary artery can cause a heart attack.
Coronary heart disease is
the UK’s biggest killer, with one
in every four men and one in
every six women dying from
In the UK around 300,000 people a year have a heart attack.
Symptoms of a heart attack usually include a severe, persistent, crushing chest pain radiating to
the arms with sweating, nausea, light-headedness and breathlessness.