August is Tradies National Health Month, and the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is raising awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations—among individuals, their families, employers and the wider community.
While we’ve seen improvements, Australia’s trade industry continues to have among the highest health and safety issues of any sector. Time off work due to poor health and injury has a significant impact on families, businesses and communities. This impact will grow if we don’t take steps to change behaviour. Anyone can get behind Tradies National Health Month. The APA is urging employers and trade unions to prioritise their employees’ health now and into the future. Everyone can spread the message—whether it’s your dad or mum, your partner, your employee, your patient or your mate, we all know a tradie and want them to place importance on their wellbeing.
Tradies’ health must be everyone’s priority—we’re giving all employers, physiotherapists, families and tradies the chance to be involved. Go to www.tradieshealth.com.au
for more details about our launch event and social media competition for a range of great prizes.
WHAT IS IT?
Tradies National Health Month, which runs throughout August, places a firm focus on the health of Australia’s tradies.
While we’ve seen improvements, according to Safe Work Australia our trade industry accounts for 58 per cent of serious claims for worker’s compensation, yet makes up less than one third of Australia’s workforce.
Time off work due to poor health, injury or illness has a significant impact on families, businesses, communities, the health system and the economy—and this impact will grow if we don’t take steps to change behaviour.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association is calling on all tradies, their employers and families to get behind Tradies National Health Month this August and spread the message from the top of our buildings to the bottoms of our drains and pipes: Tradies, make your health the most important part of your toolkit!
APA National President Phil Calvert is asking tradies to be proactive about their health and get their muscle/joint pain issues or other health concerns seen to promptly. “We need to get tradies to prioritise their health so that they can continue to play the important roles they hold in the workforce, their families and the community at large. Australians’ reliance on the work that tradies do is huge, so we need to encourage them to seek proper, evidence based care before their small niggles become large issues that potentially lead to time off work.”
HOW CAN PHYSIO HELP?
When we think of tradies health concerns, we most commonly assume them to be musculoskeletal, such as back pain and tendon/muscle injuries. While these conditions make up the majority of tradies seeking treatment, physios also treat and manage a whole range of health conditions, from sports injuries through to chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes as well as stroke recovery, exercise prescription and the less talked about pelvic floor issues that many men face.
Physically demanding trade jobs can exacerbate all these conditions, but physio treatment can help, either through a prescribed preventive management exercise program tailored to individual needs, or as post-injury rehabilitation treatment. So don’t be a tool, see a physio to help you stay healthy and active.
Tim is a mechanical fitter from WA. He was working on the differential of a frontend loader when he injured his chest and bicep trying to crack the sump plug. He felt immediate pain across his chest and used ice packs to help manage the pain, but continued to work.
A few days later severe bruising developed so he decided to seek medical help. He was diagnosed with a ruptured pectoral muscle which required surgery to reattach the muscle and tendon to the bone. The surgeon recommended regular physiotherapy as his post-surgery rehab treatment, which Tim did two or three times a week for almost three months.
His physiotherapist helped him incorporate some modified work tasks into his rehab program so that he could return to work in a reduced capacity during his recovery. Tim has now recovered and is back working to his full, pre-injury work duties.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is the peak body representing the interests of Australian physiotherapists and their patients. With over 23 000 members, there is a physio not far away who can help with your health concerns.
Go to choose.physio
Note: We use the term tradies to encompass workers in technician and trade roles, machinery operators/drivers and labourers.
Statistics courtesy of Safe Work Australia 2014–15 Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics.