Being a tradie can be a health hazard
THE Queensland tradie image of big, buff, fit men in singlets couldn't be further from the truth.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association is warning of a burgeoning tradie health crisis, revealing that tradies account for 60 per cent of all injury and musculoskeletal problems across all workers and 39 per cent of all medical conditions.
Upper-body injuries make up 40 per cent of tradies' injuries, with hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders most affected.
APA national president Phil Calvert said: "Australians' reliance on the work that tradies do is huge, so we need to encourage them to seek proper, evidence-based care before their small niggles become large issues that potentially lead to time off work."
Safe Work Australia reports that the trade industry accounts for 58 per cent of serious claims for workers' compensation, yet makes up less than one-third of Australia's workforce.
Brisbane carpenter Josh Balkin is 25 and says after eight years in the job he already feels the aches and pains of physical work.
"I'll admit that I am not the healthiest and I am a smoker," he said.
"I think tradies have the idea that they do physical exercise in the job all day, so they don't need to exercise or go the gym."
Brad Ward from Trade Tools said the best thing a young tradie could do was talk to their mates.
"Pride can get in the way, but suicide is a problem and we are trying to break down the barrier that prevents workers from reaching out for help," he said.
TRADIES' HEALTH REPORT CARD
* 60 per cent of injuries across all occupations
* 39 per cent of medical conditions across all occupations
* 40 per cent injuries in upper body
* Miss on average 5.4 weeks work yearly due to injury
* CSIRO's least healthy eaters title
* Mental health poor, with 190 taking their own life each year
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