Tradies – classified as technicians and trade workers, labourers, machinery operators and drivers – represent 58 per cent of workers’ compensation claims, despite making up only 30 per cent of the workforce.
Did you know that Australian tradies make 190 serious workers’ compensation claims every day? That’s three times the national average – according to a Safe Work Australia analysis of data from 2010-11 to 2014-15! In addition, research has uncovered that despite 86% of tradies agreeing that their job is physically demanding (and around a third of tradies finishing off the work day stiff and sore), 38% of tradies never stretch or warm up before work. It has also been uncovered 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. Furthermore, 60% of tradies often have aches and pains as a result of their job.
Back pain is one of the most common injuries suffered by tradies, with three million Australians (14 per cent of the population) suffering from lower back pain, according to a 2015 report. It is most common in 30 to 39 year old males. The report estimates indirect costs associated with lower back pain to be $8.15 billion due to lost earnings and productivity.
August each year is Australian Tradies National Health Month (TNHM), a campaign to bring awareness to tradies’ health and encourage them to look after their wellbeing. In a bid to drive awareness of, and encourage a healthy workplace and injury prevention or management, TNHM provide a number of resources across their website and social media channels. Employers and tradies can access case studies, workplace posters and general advice on common workplace issues or injuries such as ankle sprains, knee injuries, hydration, mental health and workplace bullying.
The TNHM campaign, which is driven by the Australian Physiotherapist Association and Steel Blue Boots has successfully put tradies’ health on the mainstream media agenda every August, sponsoring celebrities including comedian, Dave Hughes, cricket legend Dennis Lillee, and ex AFL stars Glen Jakovich and Glenn Archer.
Check out the tips and resources from the Australian Physiotherapy Association to help better health outcomes for tradies on their website.
With your help, we can help spread the word of Tradies National Health Month!