National Health Month for Tradies
August is Tradie’s National Health Month. The goal of Tradie’s National Health Month is to encourage tradies, their employers, as well as friends and family to prioritise tradies health.
Tradies do physically demanding work and often complain of aches and pains. On top of these day-to-day demands tradies are at risk of workplace injury due to heavy loads, high demands and the often repetitive nature of their work.
The health of a tradie’s body is very important as a tradie cannot work without a fit and healthy body. Light duties are difficult to find on a worksite! It’s because of this very reason that ensuring your health and fitness is so important.
Mild aches and pains are a normal part of life, but if you have been feeling a particular ache or pain in a specific area and it has been present for 2 weeks or more and is not settling, you really should see a physio. Whether the issue is work-related or not it can have a significant impact on your ability to work.
Workplace injuries do occur and most commonly affect the back, knees, shoulders, ankles, elbows and wrists. Nearly a third of tradies report being injured once as a result of their work and 42% report being injured more than once. The costs of these injuries are quite significant too with 57% of tradies injured at work needing time off resulting in financial strain, strain on work relationships and commitments and strain on personal relationships.
Getting help as soon as possible is imperative as often small issues are easily dealt with. The longer a problem has been present often the longer it takes to settle. This can be for several reasons including a loss of strength and conditioning and compensations such as muscle spasm around the area.
Another factor that impacts on tradies health is the fact that they often take better care of the tools than their own bodies, yet tradies themselves are the most important tool –but not enough see it that way. The 2019 Tradies Health Survey revealed that 88% reported taking care of their tools whereas just over 60% reported taking care of their bodies and their mental health. Tradies are notoriously hard workers too with 48% reporting they had not had a sick day in the previous 6 months.
The report did show that workplace culture did tend towards a tough it out approach at work. 60% of tradies reported aches and pains as a result of their job and 36% reported they generally finish their day stiff and sore. 42% reported pushing their bodies past their healthy limits and 32% reported that they did not follow safe lifting guidelines. 21% of tradies reported that they would think someone was a bit soft if they complained about being sore from a physically demanding job.
It’s not all bad news though with 70% of tradies reporting they were trying to be healthy with their diet, 69% of tradies classifying themselves as fit and 56% of tradies regularly exercising. So it would appear that the beer-bellied, pie-eating stereotype no longer applies and one could see that these changes may also reflect a willingness for tradies to begin prioritising their own health.
There are some steps that tradies can take towards better health and reducing the risk of injuries. Most people warm up before commencing sport or exercise so it’s easy to see that doing an appropriate warm up before commencing a physically demanding job makes perfect sense. Exercising outside of work will help to ensure they are fit and strong enough to perform their work duties with relative ease. You never want your daily work activities to be the epitome of your physical abilities, otherwise it’s like you’re running a marathon every day! Make sure you don’t exceed what you think your body is physically capable of and follow safe lifting guidelines. There is no place for bravado in the workplace. Communication is key, stop and ask for help if you need it. Go and see someone if you feel pain.
Here at Logan Physio we help people in pain every single day and likely see a tradie or two most weeks at the clinic. Do put yourself first. Seeking help for aches and pains is not soft, it’s smart.