Onsite health checks now contribute towards Green Star Rating

A health initiative that keeps your workers safe from stroke can now support your company’s sustainability rating. 

A building can earn a Green Star rating – the largest sustainability rating system in Australasia for commercial buildings – through criteria that now includes signing up for Health15, a not-for-profit initiative that provides onsite health checks to construction workers.

Health15 was established by the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand and Project Managers, The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG). It was created to help construction workers live healthier lives. 

“As a stroke survivor with over 25-years’ experience in construction, I know the risks that come with carrying out physically demanding work in a high stress environment, and how important it is to look after your health and wellbeing,” says TBIG Project Director, Jamie Summers.

The Health15 service comes directly to worksites and offers workers a health check that takes no more than 15 minutes. As well as a blood pressure check, it includes personalised advice on how workers can lower their risk of stroke and other health conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. 

“The impact on peoples’ lives is immeasurable,” says Stroke Foundation CEO, Jo Lambert. “Stroke can rob you of your independence – and your ability to work – in an instant. That’s why prevention is so important. We know workers have busy lives, but the earlier they spot the signs of stroke, the better.” 

Since its launch in 2023, Health15 has welcomed ten construction companies into the initiative. Over 1,000 blood pressure readings have been taken over 29 worksites. Over 50% of readings returned a result of high blood pressure – a top risk factor for stroke – and 15 people had readings so high they needed urgent medical attention. 

“Health15 allows workers to prioritise their hauora without taking time out of their busy workdays,” says Jamie. “We’re thrilled that this care for workers’ health has been recognised as a way to demonstrate a building’s overall sustainability.” 

To find out more about how Health15 can support your Green Star goals, visit: https://www.health15.nz/  

CASE STUDY: Vivian Construction 

Vivian Construction knows the importance of prioritising the health and wellbeing of their team, especially in an industry as demanding as construction.  

“What we try and do is create a culture where it’s acceptable to try and find that work life balance,” says Jeff Vivian, Director of Vivian Construction. 

The Auckland-based company became a Health15 partner in 2023 and is reaping the rewards of a healthy workforce. Their first site to receive a Health15 visit was a huge success: along with talks on hauora and overall wellbeing, employees and subcontractors onsite received a fifteen-minute health check, with a total of 30 blood pressure readings taken. 

“Our number one goal at Vivian is making sure people go home safe to their families,” says Jeff. 

Thanks to Health15, Vivian Construction is doing just that – supporting its workers to live safe, healthy lives.

CASE STUDY: Daniel’s experience with Health15 

32-year-old Daniel Foster, a Project Manager at Southbase, thought he was in perfect health. But in mid-2023, the site Daniel was working on had a visit from Health15 and revealed a diagnosis that changed his life. 

Daniel had his blood pressure checked by the Health15 team and, to his surprise, he had a worryingly high reading. The Health15 team recommended that Daniel see his GP to get a follow up assessment. When Daniel saw his GP a week later, his blood pressure came back even higher. His GP referred him for a blood test, which showed issues with his liver function and high cholesterol levels. 

Daniel was diagnosed with “fatty liver”, a kind of liver disease where there is a buildup of fat around the liver. If caught early, fatty liver can be slowed and even reversed. However, people with early stages of fatty liver often have no symptoms until cirrhosis – permanent damage to the liver – develops.  

“The doctor said, ‘This is very serious. If you don’t change anything, this will affect not only your quality of life but your length of life’,” Daniel recalls.   

Daniel is now on medication and a special diet to combat his liver disease and is awaiting a follow up appointment to see how these changes have improved his health.  

“The scary part is that when I got that first high blood pressure reading, my first thought was ‘it’s stress’,” Daniel says. “It would’ve been really easy to stop there and say ‘I’m just stressed out’. It could’ve gone on for a hell of a long time without noticing and it would have been a far bigger problem than it is.”  

Daniel wants everybody, especially those in the construction industry, to get a checkup, even if they feel fine or like they’re too busy. “People need to put away their pride and deal with these things: go get checked up and go to these Health15 checks,” he says. “You wouldn’t drive a car with a flat tyre. You wouldn’t drive a car with the engine warning light on for five thousand ks. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t come with a dashboard to tell us what’s wrong.”  

Does Daniel think he would have found out about his liver disease without Health15? “No, not a chance without it. I’ll be infinitely grateful for the rest of my life, that’s for sure.” 

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