Through recent lockdowns and disaster relief efforts, tradies have shouldered a lot, and while many workers have been doing it tough, tradies remain consistently over-represented in workplace injuries and mental health statistics.
August is Tradies National Health Month (TNHM) and the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) wants tradies to share the load and prioritise their physical and mental health.
“Many tradies seem resigned to the aches and pains brought on by the intense and repetitive nature of their work and they don’t prioritise their wellbeing,” National Chair of the APA Occupational Health Group Zac Lowth said.
“Left untreated, small issues can lead to more serious chronic conditions can that impact a tradie’s ability to work, their finances and long-term physical and mental health.
In a survey* conducted on behalf of the APA to mark the 10th annual TNHM, one in four tradies said they had taken extended periods off work because of injury. The majority of these respondents said the injury had a negative impact on their mental health.
“Your body is the most important tool you own, and physiotherapy can help tradies stay fit, prevent and treat common injuries and reduce the risks to mental health associated with acute and chronic pain,” Mr Lowth said.
Preventing injuries and treating injuries early is key to improving tradies’ health outcomes. Employers, physiotherapists, families and communities all have a role to play.
“Physiotherapists can complete worksite risk assessments, we can educate on how to manage existing injuries and support tradies to be proactive about their health,” Mr Lowth said.
The relationship between physical and mental health featured heavily in the survey results with the majority of tradies reporting poor mental health had decreased their physical health, 47 per cent also noted poor mental health had impacted their relationships.
This Tradies National Health Month, encourage tradies to share the load and prioritise their health and wellbeing for themselves and their families.
“The best first step for a tradie who feels sore, or not as healthy as they’d like to be, is to put a physio in their toolkit.
“Physios are also excellent at pointing tradies in the right direction for other professional services where needed, including general practitioners, surgeons, podiatrists and mental health professionals,” Mr Lowth said.
Tradies National Health Month is an annual awareness campaign that focuses on the health of Australian tradies and the benefits of physiotherapy to support better health outcomes.
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* Tradies Health Survey 2022 – a national survey of tradies by Steel Blue for the Australian Physiotherapy Association; March 2022. Available on request.
Zac Lowth is available for comment.
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