Tradies National Health Month
August 19, 2023
A ‘fair go’ for tradies has been a key concern following the pension age raise to 67 last month¹, with tradies already being disproportionately affected by workplace injuries and chronic conditions².
Body stressing, lifting, pushing, pulling, or bending is the primary cause of workplace injury, with the most serious injury claims involving joints and muscles³.
August is Tradies National Health Month (TNHM). The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) launched the campaign in 2012 to encourage tradies to stay healthy on the job by working with their physiotherapist, who are uniquely placed to prevent and treat musculoskeletal concerns throughout a worker’s lifespan.
APA Occupational Health Physiotherapist Lucia Tsui supports tradies who are experiencing problems consistent with the physical stressors of laborious work, many of which force tradies to take time off.
“People who experience more serious work-related injuries generally require time off, with the latest data showing 66 percent of those who experienced an injury taking leave to recover⁴,” Lucia said.
“Our generation will likely work longer than our parents, but while life expectancy has increased, our health span – the number of years of good health – has not kept pace.
“Tradies know they put their bodies through a lot, and physiotherapists know tradies are busy.
“That is why we have compiled some quick, practical reasons for tradies to choose physio to help them live better for longer.
Preventing injuries and treating them early is key, so that small issues don’t develop into more serious conditions that may keep tradies out of action for a longer term.
Physios assess and treat tradies using a range of interventions and offer guidance on injury management, return to work and prevention strategies. They are also able to assist with complex health conditions such as diabetes, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and recovery from stroke.
“Physios can do a lot to assist tradies throughout their whole careers. We conduct worksite risk assessments, advise on how to set up your vehicles correctly to protect musculoskeletal health, and help with poor sleep that affects tradies more than most other workers,” Lucia said.
“Physios are also great at linking in with other health professionals when those underlying pains require efficient referral and communication with other services, including general practitioners, surgeons, podiatrists and mental health professionals,” Lucia said.
With tradies comprising 30 per cent of the workforce⁶, it is in everyone’s best interests to help them stay healthy.
TNHM is an opportunity for tradies to invest in their long-term health, but it is also a time for employers, family members, and friends to check-in and help support tradies to have a long, healthy life on the job.
Follow us via our website or Facebook here to view what physiotherapists want tradies to know for a long, healthy life on the job.
¹ Commonwealth Parliament (2014) Changes to support for pensioners and Retirees, Home – Parliament of Australia. https://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/parliamentary_departments/parliamentary_library/pubs/rp/budgetreview201415/pensioners
² ³ ⁴ Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2021-22). Work-related injuries. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/earnings-and-working-conditions/work-related-injuries/latest-release.
⁵ Chronic musculoskeletal conditions : Back problems (2023) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems-1
⁶ Worksafenews. (2019, October 10). Tradies make 60% of serious injury claims in Australia. https://www.worksafenews.com.au/workplace-injury/tradies-make-60-of-serious-injury-claims-in-australia/
Courtesy: Australian Physiotherapy Association August 1 Media Release