Tradies National Health Month

For the month of August, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is putting a focus on the importance of tradies health and wellbeing, raising the awareness of the effects of physical demands on their health, and encouraging tradies and their employers to take positive steps towards better health outcomes.

To support Tradies National Health Month all tradies who attend an appointment, hydrotherapy, recovery or group session in August at Healthy Mates will go in the draw to win a 10 Pass Hydrotherapy and Recovery Pass Card!

Simply put your trade business card in the bowl provided for your chance to win.

Why is tradies’ health so important?

Physically demanding trade jobs can cause and exacerbate a range of injures. It’s not surprising that tradies are overrepresented in workplace statistics compared to other workers. The average time off work due to serious workplace injury is 5-6 weeks, which is time many tradies simply can’t afford.

Research conducted on behalf of the APA confirmed that being a tradie is physically demanding as the result of the intensity and repetitive nature of their work, revealing that 60% of tradies often have aches and pains as a result of their job.

These findings were supported by WorkSafe Victoria, who report that ‘tradies account for 60% of all injury and muscle disorders across all occupations’, with joint, ligament and musculoskeletal injuries the most common.

How to look after yourself at work

Given the physical nature of a tradie’s work, it’s important that you go home safe, well and ready for action again the next day. To help you do this, follow a few simple steps:

  • Warm up each morning before you start work with some targeted stretches, such as quadricep stretches (front of the thigh) if your work involves lots of squatting
  • Pace your workload and rate throughout the day to avoid issues related to overuse and fatigue
  • Communicate well with your workmates to ensure you are working in the most efficient and safe manner
  • Be willing to speak up if you feel uneasy about the level of risk you are exposed to at work
  • Don’t put yourself at risk of injury by rushing
  • Be willing to say ‘no’ when required to ensure both your own safety and that of others, even if it might make you unpopular at that moment. Worksite supervisors and employers are legally responsible for safe worksites and conditions and will be held accountable if there are breaches of work site regulations
  • Seek advice from your physiotherapist if you experience any aches or pains that are persistent, rather than waiting till it’s bad enough to stop you from continuing work
  • Manage injuries immediately with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

What can workplaces do to support tradies’ health?

APA research highlighted that two-thirds of tradies agreed that they would be more inclined to stretch or warm up before starting work if their employer prioritised it.

By encouraging workers to warm up properly and communicate about their workload there will less injuries on the worksite.