August is is Tradies National Health Month, which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations as well as educate tradies in the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
The trade industry continues to have among the highest health and safety issues of any sector, despite only making up 30 per cent of the workforce.
According to Australian Physiotherapy Association, back pain is the most common injury experienced by tradies.
Nearly a quarter of all roofers, plumbers and labourers suffers from some form of back pain due to repetitive lifting, holding sustained postures and heavy lifting associated with their work.
Other common injuries include shoulder, knee and ankle sprains related to working on uneven ground and the use of ladders and other equipment.
The immediate consequence of this is a minimum of five to six weeks off work due to injury.
So, what can you do to make sure you go home safe, well and ready for the next day?
Nearly a quarter of all roofers, plumbers and labourers suffers from some form of back pain.
- Work smart: Use optimal positions for the task at hand, techniques and equipment available to reduce the strain on your body and most importantly, ask for assistance when it is required. Pace your workload throughout the day to avoid issues related to overuse or fatigue.
- Don't ignore your body: Being a tradie, your body is the most important tool you own. If damaged, broken or injured, you may not be able to work to your best ability. Seek advice from health professionals such as physiotherapist as soon as you feel a niggle to ensure prompt management.
- Be proactive and ready to speak up: It is imperative to be willing to speak up if you feel uneasy about the level of risk you are exposed to at work. Communicate well with your employer and workmates to make sure that you are working in the most efficient and safe manner.
- Stay fit and healthy: Staying fit and healthy can be as simple as eating the right food, drinking enough water or doing some targeted warm ups and stretches regularly before and during work. Engaging in a strengthening and exercise program is essential to avoid injury especially when the job is as physically demanding as yours.
The key is to start prioritising your health. It's the most important tool of your kit.