With Tradies National Health Month underway for the month of August, we’re starting to get a real picture of just how important health is for tradies, and just how bad they are at looking after it.
A study conducted by The Project takes a deeper look into how well our tradies look after their health and safety on the job, and the results are, well, probably not that surprising.
Tradies Look After Their Tools More Than Their Health
Aussie tradies pride themselves on the condition of their tools. Unfortunately, they can’t say the same about their bodies.
New research released Wednesday reveals that 79 per cent of tradies report taking good care of their tools. That’s nearly twice as many as those that say they take care good care of their bodies (47 per cent).
The survey, commissioned by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, found that 64 percent of tradies had been injured in their current job – and half of those expected to injure themselves again in the future.
August is Tradies National Health Month, which is why the APA is raising awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations.
Tradies have a tendency to try to “tough out” injuries, with more than half thinking aches and pains were normal for the work they do and nearly a quarter saying they would think a workmate was ‘a wuss’ if they complained about an injury.
“Many tradies are not seeking treatment or are delaying treatment until their injury becomes a much bigger and more complex issue,” said APA National President Phil Calvert. “We know that lower back pain, knee and shoulder issues are common, yet almost a quarter of tradies in our survey said they didn’t seek assistance from a health professional for their injury, which led to a longer recovery time or chronic injury.”
And that can hit the pocket hard, with over 65 per cent reporting losing income due to injury. It’s estimated that adds up to over $1.3 billion in lost income across Australia.
The kicker is the impact that can have on mental health. 20 per cent of the tradies surveyed reported experiencing a mental health issue as the result of a work injury.
Data from Safe Work Australia indicates that 58 per cent of serious workplace injuries involve tradies, despite them only making up 30 per cent of the workforce.
While messages about safe lifting techniques are making an impact, Mr Calvert highlighted the fact that only 23 per cent of tradies said they warm up before starting work.
A regime of stretching before beginning a shift could make a huge difference. Alongside getting early intervention for any issues, it could help prevent cutting a career short due to injury.
After all, it’s great to take care of your tools, but they’re no use without a fit and healthy tradie.