Many electricians working in the construction sector are facing worrying lifestyle-related health risks, according to health assessments.
ECIS, the employee benefits company for the construction sector, conducted health assessments of over 700 electricians during the course of 2014 as part of the Joint Industry Board (JIB) for the Electrical Contracting Industry, which promotes a health and wellbeing benefits scheme for its members and their employees, administered by ECIS.
The assessments found that although the psychological wellbeing of electricians is better than many of their counterparts in other trades, busy workers were evidently struggling to focus on exercise, diet and alcohol consumption with associated blood pressure and cardiac risks.
ECIS’s assessments found that 24 per cent of electricians were at risk due to their regular alcohol consuption and ‘high risk’ drinking, which is higher than the rest of the construction sector at 6 per cent. Bearing in mind that many people underestimate their alcohol consumption the true picture may be worse. Current UK guidelines recommend that men don’t drink more than three or four units of alcohol a day, and that women limit their intake to two or three units a day.
Inactivity was also a concern. Of those seen, both male and female electricians reported being less physically active than their counterparts in the rest of the construction sector, with more completely inactive. Only 20 per cent achieved a healthy weekly exercise rating.
In addition, electricians showed a higher body mass index than the sector average and their fasting blood glucose levels were also a concern, with worse than average results for the sector. A single high result does not mean a diagnosis of diabetes but the finding is in keeping with the overall picture.
Finally, blood pressure readings in those seen were higher than expected. Lifestyle factors such as Body Mass Index, lack of exercise and alcohol will be contributors.
Vicki Leslie, Business Development Executive at ECIS said: “Although these findings are worrying it is hugely positive that so many electricians took up the opportunity to have a health assessment as part of their membership of the JIB, during 2014. We must also take heart from the fact that the mental well-being of electrician looks to be better than others working in the buildings sector.
“With the feedback received the electricians who had health assessments last year will now be in a position to make positive changes to their lifestyles to put them on the right track for a healthier and hopefully longer life. Also by detecting more serious health problems as early as possible, corrective action can be taken before they have a chance to develop further.
“There is also an onus on employers and contractors to promote healthier habits amongst their workers, perhaps focusing on alcohol awareness and incentives such as discounted gym membership.”
Vicki Leslie is business development executive at ECIS
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