Today, the main causes of death among people working in the oil and gas industry are heart attacks and strokes related to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although primarily non-occupational, and often a consequence of lifestyle choices, these diseases represent a significant challenge to the current and future operational and financial performance of the oil and gas industry.
These industry figures reflect a trend in society: worldwide, 13 million people died of heart attacks and strokes in 2011, and CVD-related deaths per head of population are increasing.
To help address this issue OGP’s Health Committee has published Prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases (Report No. 491). It outlines a number of strategies and improvements that the oil and gas industry can implement to reduce the number of CVD-related deaths in the years to come. Designed primarily for company medical professionals and line managers, this document provides basic guidance on the main types of CVDs, their causes and symptoms.
A reference section lists additional sources of information relating to CVD. The appendices include three useful tools that can help to reduce the incidence of workforce CVDs by raising awareness of their risks, causes, symptoms and outcomes, and also to promote healthier lifestyles, both at work and at home.
The main causes of CVD include:
- hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure)
- smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco
- metabolic disorders
- physical inactivity
- nutrition and diet
- sleep disorders
Global trends suggest that the oil and gas industry’s future workforce may be more susceptible to lifestyle choices that can increase the incidence of CVD. For this reason it is essential for companies to put in place risk-based health promotion programmes that are capable of addressing this lifestyle problem. Without such efforts, the future repercussions are likely to have a negative impact on the industry’s business.
Among actions recommended by the report are the implementation of health assessments and screening; awareness, education and training; promotion of risk factor reduction, such as smoking prevention and reduction, healthier diets, increased physical activity, stress prevention and reduction, and fatigue management.
It also suggests the industry consider involving the families of its workers in the reduction of CVD risk through the provision of initiatives such as family fitness days to promote healthy diets and lifestyles.
Prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases (Report No. 491) can be downloaded here.