A new study reveals that tradies are almost twice as likely to take care of their tools than their health despite having one of the highest injury rates of any occupation.
The Empirica Research commissioned by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) was released on Wednesday to mark the launch of Tradies National Health Month.
The study shows that 79 percent of tradies report taking good care of their tools compared to 47 percent who reported taking good care of their health.
Nearly two-thirds of tradies revealed they have been injured in their current job and half of these said they expected to be injured again.
“Many tradies are not seeking treatment or are delaying treatment until their injury becomes a much bigger and more complex issue. We know that lower back pain, knee and shoulder issues are common, yet almost a quarter (22 percent) of tradies in our survey said they didn’t seek assistance from a health professional for their injury, which led to a longer recovery time or chronic injury,” said APA National President Phil Calvert.
“While health and safety messages are getting through – with 68 percent saying they follow safe lifting guidelines – only 23 percent of tradies said they warm up before they start work.”
Mr. Calvert noted that attitudes were slowly changing, given that 55 percent of tradies still thought aches and pains were just normal for the work they do and nearly a quarter or 24 percent said they would think a workmate was “a wuss” if they complained about an injury.
“Too many tradies are living with the attitude that injuries come part and parcel with the job, but that just doesn’t have to be the case,” he said.
“Early treatment from a physio is effective in reducing, relieving and eliminating a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain and soft tissue injuries, as well as help with more complex health problems in consultation with a tradie’s own GP.”
Injuries in the workplace are also affecting tradies’ mental health with 20 percent of tradies reporting a mental health issue as a result of work injury.
The survey findings is supplemented by data from Safe Work Australia indicating that almost three in five (58 percent) serious workplace injuries involve a tradie, despite tradies making up only 30 percent of the workforce.
“It’s definitely worth seeking out a physio to have a comprehensive assessment and get treatment. In most cases, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome,” said Mr. Calvert
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