August is ‘Tradies National Health Month’, and the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is raising awareness of health and safety issues faced by those who work in trade occupations.
While we’ve seen improvements, according to Safe Work Australia the trade industry accounts for 57 per cent of serious claims for worker’s compensation yet makes up less than a third of Australia’s workforce. Physically demanding trade jobs can cause and exacerbate injuries so it’s not surprising that tradies are overrepresented in workplace statistics compared to other workers. The average time off work due to serious workplace injury is 5-6 weeks – time which many tradies can’t afford. This time off work has a significant impact on families, businesses, communities, the health system, and the economy and will continue to grow if steps aren’t taken to change behaviour.
  • Tradies account for 57% of all injuries and musculoskeletal disorders across all occupations.
  • Tradies account for 39% of all medical conditions across occupations.
  • The average lost work time as a result of serious claims is 6.8 weeks.
  • 40% of serious claims by tradies are for upper limb injuries such as hands, and wrists. elbows, and shoulders.  
Most injuries occur because of ignoring pain and niggles, rushing at work improvising with tools or equipment or being distracted by everyday tasks. The risk of serious injury can be reduced by:

  • Working smart and taking a few minutes to evaluate a job before starting.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.
  • Seek medical advice before your little niggle turns into something more serious. The average lost work time as a result of serious claims is 6.8 weeks.
  • Improve flexibility, stay fit and be strong enough to do your job.

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