A new report by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) reveals the high percentage of tradespersons being involved in workplace accidents. Tradies are seen more at risk of injuries, musculoskeletal conditions and other health and safety issues than any other profession.
According to the APA health report, one in five of all serious workplace injuries involves a tradie. Released as part of the Tradies National Health Month, the Stop Trading Your Health Away report confirms the vulnerability of this profession to serious workplace-related injuries in Australia. The APA started the Tradies National Health Month initiative last year in partnership with Steel Blue to educate tradies about the perils of ignoring their health in the workplace.
The APA report also provides insights on the low awareness and access to preventative health such as physiotherapy among this group of Australians. APA National President Marcus Dripps observes that tradies continue to get hurt despite the high workplace safety measures in place; however, many don't seek treatment, which can impact their physical health in the long term, forcing them to retire well before many white collar workers of the same age. Statistics show tradies are 35% to 50% more likely to retire before the age of 60 compared to professional workers.
Musculoskeletal health costs $20.9 billion annually in direct health and lost productivity costs in Australia. Mr Dripps underlines the importance of awareness in driving attitudinal change among tradies so that they understand why they cannot ignore their musculoskeletal health or aches, pain and body stress.
Construction workers are currently claiming 34% of workers’ compensation claims with more than half of these claims related to muscular stress caused by handling a range of materials, tools or other equipment.
APA has engaged the dynamic duo from The Block, Kyal and Kara to create awareness about the issue this month. Kara is a qualified physiotherapist and APA member, and her husband Kyal is a carpenter, making them the perfect couple to endorse this cause.
Kyal confirms that most of the tradies he knows complain about their injuries without doing anything about it. As an APA physio, Kara feels that discussion about the issue should be encouraged among workers and employers, and hopes that the APA awareness month will help to shed light on the subject.
APA is also releasing a series of videos online starring ambassadors such as Dave Hughes.
The APA and Steel Blue will promote health and safety tips for tradies all through August with physiotherapists visiting construction sites around the country.