Chances are you know a tradie. Perhaps you’re one yourself. From the plumber who fixes your leaky tap, to a brother, sister, partner, father, mother or best friend – you’ve been touched by their ability to stay positive and share a joke while handling tough work in often harsh conditions. However, that hard-working ethos is having a dramatic effect on their health; a startling 3,650 tradies are badly injured at work every year. Yep, that’s 10 tradies a week. Experts believe that most avoid speaking up about hazards at work, preferring to ‘get on with the job’. Others delay seeking medical treatment for a range of illnesses or injuries. This is why the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is reminding tradies to check their health as part of Tradies National Health Month this August.
APA National President Marcus Dripps said that health and safety on the job was paramount, especially with the amount of heavy lifting and machinery use involved.
“Despite the majority of tradies relying on their musculoskeletal health to do their jobs, many continue to ignore aches, pains and body stress – which often means an early retirement, or worse, living with a disability and debilitation,” he said.
“The APA started Tradies National Health Month to raise awareness among tradies that they shouldn’t ignore their health in the workplace.”
This year The Block contestants Kyal and Kara Demmrich have come on board as Tradies National Health Month Ambassadors to highlight the importance visiting a doctor as soon as illness or injury strikes.
As a carpenter, Kyal says that most of his mates on the job need to change their behavior regarding their health.
“I often hear my work mates complain about an injury, yet they do nothing about it and ignore it most of the time,” he said.
“This really needs to change. I’m fortunate that Kara is a physio and has always stressed I take care of myself and not overlook injuries.”
With a number of workers ignoring their aches and pains, Tradies National Health Month is also a time to encourage our mates to check their health and safety, both on and off the job. In addition to musculoskeletal injuries, tradies suffer a higher risk of contracting lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to participate in ‘risky alcohol behaviour’ than those in other industries.
Through education, you or your mates can lead healthier lives. A couple of points you should bring up with the blokes next time you see them include:
- Don’t delay seeking medical advice if suffering musculoskeletal pain
- See a doctor regularly
- Wear the correct footwear at work to reduce the risk of suffering a stress-related injury to the ankles, knees, hips and spine
- Try to limit alcohol use. While it’s okay to have a drink or two with your friends, binge drinking can lead to a range of health problems
- Stay away from the smokes: try to quit instead
- Eat a nutritious and balanced diet; try to pack a lunch in an esky rather than heading to the local bakery for a pie (it is tempting, we know!)
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day
- Regular physiotherapy appointments can help you keep your body in tip top shape on the job. You may be able to receive a rebate on physio visits if they are covered by an appropriate extras policy. Remind them to compare providers for the best rate on extras policies.
Tradies National Health Month is a reminder to encourage our tool-wielding, steel car wearing and high-vic clad mates to stay healthy; disease, injury and disability-free.
For more information on Tradies National Health Month, visit their website.