Tradies National Health Month (TNHM), run by The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has begun, with concerns surrounding the pension age raising, sparking debate as the APA reports tradespeople being “disproportionately” affected by workplace injury. 

The APA also highlighted recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data that shows – for work-related injuries in the 2021-2022 period. Laborious activities such as lifting, pushing, body stressing or bending are the primary cause of workplace injury claims that involve joints and muscles. 

Launched by the APA in 2012, TNHM is an awareness initiative which aims to encourage tradespeople to stay healthy and safe during work by working with physiotherapists who are uniquely placed, helping prevent and treat musculoskeletal concerns throughout the worker’s lifespan. 

APA Occupational Health Physiotherapist Lucia Tsui said that tradespeople who experience problems that are consistent with physical stressors of laborious work are generally forced to take time off. 

“People who experience more serious work-related injuries generally require time off, with the latest data showing 66 per cent of those who experienced an injury taking leave to recover,” Ms Tsui said. 

“Our generation will likely work longer than our parents, but while life expectancy has increased, our health span – the number of years of good health –has not kept pace.

“Tradies know they put their bodies through a lot, and physiotherapists know tradies are busy.”

The assessment of injuries would be completed by using a range of interventions and guidance offered to tradespeople regarding injury management, prevention strategies and guides to return to work. 

“Physios can do a lot to assist tradies throughout their whole careers. We conduct worksite risk assessments, advise on how to set up your vehicles correctly to protect musculoskeletal health, and help with poor sleep that affects tradies more than most other workers,” Ms Tsui said. 

“Physios are also great at linking in with other health professionals when those underlying pains require efficient referral and communication with other services, including general practitioners, surgeons, podiatrists and mental health professionals.”

As TNHM begins, APA said that it is not only encouraging tradespeople to invest in their long-term health but also employers, family members and friends to check on their tradespeople and support them in having a healthy life on the job. 

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