Tradies urged to ditch the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to their health

Aug 3, 2020
  • Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim

To mark the start of Tradies National Health Month on Saturday 1 August, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) wants tradies to ditch the old-school ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to their health so they can continue to support Australia’s economic recovery.  

Trade work across the construction and home building sectors has been relatively unscathed by the COVID-19 downturn compared to many other sectors.

APA National President Phil Calvert says with these continuing long hours and the physical labour associated with trade work, it’s imperative that tradies give themselves the best chance to be fully fit for work each day.

“The intensity and repetitive nature of trade work means that at some point in their career, a tradie is likely to be injured.”

“What we’re encouraging them to do is just take stock of their health regularly and notice if they have any stiffness or pain in their body. This is often an indicator of a musculoskeletal problem which can be addressed relatively simply if it is nipped in the bud.”

“Tradies rely on their bodies for their work. Small niggles can turn into more serious chronic conditions if left unchecked, and that means lost time and income for many tradies,” says Calvert.

Latest data from Safe Work Australia shows that trade workers make up 30 per cent of the Australian workforce, yet account for 55% of all serious workplace claims.  

Simple tips like warming up for five to 10 minutes before starting work each morning and pacing their workload to avoid overuse and fatigue issues are easy to incorporate into a daily routine.   

As Calvert says, “At the end of the day we all want to go home safely to our families, so tradies should look at all options to make sure they are in the best physical and mental shape to get through the day.

“Simple warm up stretches at the start of the day are easy, and even some open dialogue with bosses and co-workers about workplace practices, injuries or other issues affecting their work can lead to a safer and more productive workplace for everyone.”

Tradies National Health Month is an annual awareness campaign that highlights how tradies can improve their health and ensure that injuries don’t lead to lost time on the job. Learn more about the campaign here.

The Association of Consulting Architects Australia’s (ACA) pulse-check surveys into the impact of COVID-19 on architecture practices found firm’s re-prioritising the mental health of their architects during the social distancing restrictions. Read the ACA’s mental health advice for architects here.

Lead photo by Etienne Girardet.

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