As a Tradesperson, you know better than anyone how physically demanding your job is and how tough it can be on your body. While it’s great to move your body and stay active – and much better for your body than sitting at a desk – it can come with some challenges. When you are constantly lifting heavy equipment and bending to fit into those tight spots, you face the risk of injuring yourself at work.
Tradies make up an impressive 31% of the Australian workforce, but a less impressive 58% of serious workers’ compensation claims. In Victoria alone, the construction industry has the third-highest number of injury-related claims, particularly in the carpentry, plumbing and electrical trades. Wow! We think those numbers are crazy, especially given many of these can easily be prevented.
But don’t worry, we’re here to chat about common tradies’ injuries, simple tips to avoid them, and why dealing with minor pains pronto is the key to staying on top of your game – and on the tools!
Common Tradie injuries:
- Back Pain: Lifting heavy equipment and bending down repeatedly, can often lead to back pain; a common complaint among tradespeople. If you do experience back pain, the key is to address it straight away. If your back is stiff and sore then just keep moving, but if your pain feels like it’s pinching or grabbing, then moving around can irritate it.
- Shoulder and Knee Injuries: Overhead work and kneeling tasks can put immense stress on your shoulder and knee joints, leading to injuries like rotator cuff tears and patellar tendonitis.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Trades involving repetitive hand movements, such as plumbing or carpentry, can increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, causing pain and numbness in the hands and wrists.
Simple prevention tips:
- Warm-up: The best way to warm up for work is by elevating your heart rate and using the muscles you are about to use in a gentle and progressively increasing intensity. You wouldn’t get in a car and rev the engine to maximum, you’d let everything warm up to get to operating temperature. The same applies to your body. Focus on areas commonly stressed during your work, such as your back, shoulders, and knees. Even going for a brisk 5-10 min walk can help.
- Proper Lifting Techniques: Always use proper lifting techniques, such as bending your knees, getting close to the object and keeping your back straight while lifting heavy objects. Consider using equipment like trolleys or cranes whenever possible.
- Teamwork makes the dreamwork: Ask your workmates for help with heavy lifting. Together, you can lighten the load and protect your back.
- Strength training: Strong muscles support your body better, reducing the strain on your joints and ligaments while lifting heavy loads and physically demanding work. Regular strength training, both in the gym and on the job, can help you build the resilience needed to handle tough tasks with ease and help reduce your risk of getting injured.
Why minor injuries need major attention:
Ignoring minor injuries, aches and pains is pretty common for tradies – dismissing them as just part of the job. Sound familiar?
Often this leads to bigger issues in the long run. Here’s why it’s crucial to address minor issues promptly:
- Prevent Escalation: What may seem like a slight twinge today could develop into a full-blown injury if not treated promptly. Addressing minor injuries can prevent them from worsening and becoming a major hindrance to your work. Plus, dealing with the pain straight away can also help reduce your recovery time and you may be less likely to re-injure it again.
- Maintain Work Productivity: By taking the time to treat minor injuries, you ensure that you can continue to work at your full potential. Avoiding time off due to more severe injuries keeps you productive and your projects on track.
- Prevent Chronic Conditions: Ignoring repetitive strain or minor discomfort can lead to chronic conditions that may require extensive treatment and could impact your ability to work in the long term.
How we can help:
Our expert team of therapists and specialists have lots of experience working with tradies – and we’ve seen what happens when you ignore those minor aches and pains.
With our full-circle approach to health, our combined Osteopathy, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, and strength and conditioning services can:
- Provide Early Intervention: to identify and address minor injuries before they worsen, preventing potential complications.
- Offer Tailored Treatment: to create personalised treatment plans to suit your specific needs and job requirements, helping you recover faster and more effectively.
- Teach Injury Prevention: Learn techniques and exercises to prevent injuries in the first place.
- Strength Training: to boost your strength and keep your body flexible, help reduce your risk of getting injured and perform your physical tasks better, longer.
Strength and Conditioning Program
Our 12-week Strength and Conditioning program is designed to build your strength and job-specific fitness, helping to significantly reduce the risk of back pain and other aches associated with physically demanding jobs.
Find out more about our S&C program.
Book a treatment with our Osteos and Physios or call us at 02 6021 2777.
Remember, investing in your health today will pay in the long run.
Everybody has different needs as all of our bodies, and all of our jobs, are different. For specific advice on what would work best for you- come and see our experts at O-health and have it tailored to you.
Australian Physio Association – https://choose.physio/tradieshealth
WorkSafe Victoria – https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/tradie-health-month