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Tradies still value tools more than health, but attitudes are changing for the better

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A national survey shows for the second consecutive year that tradies are more likely to take better care of their tools than their physical or mental health.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association’s (APA) Tradies health survey of more than 800 construction tradespeople, showed that while attitudes toward health and safety have improved, the organisation found some perspectives “concerning”.

APA national president Phil Calvert said that included the industry’s “blokey culture”.

Of those surveyed, 87 per cent were men and 13 per cent women, comprising technicians, trade workers, labourers and machine drivers and operators.

“While tradies appear to be reluctant to open up to their workmates and bosses about mental health issues in particular, 73 per cent said they wouldn’t think any less of their workmates for taking time off for mental health concerns,” Mr Calvert said.

“So it seems they have a tougher expectations of themselves than their co-workers.”

Mr Calvert said with regard to physical fitness, the majority of respondents were open to the idea of a “warm up” at the start of the day if their boss was supportive.

“Tradies should look at all options to make sure they are in the best physical and mental shape to get through the day,” he said.

“That might include warmup stretches at the start of the day and open dialogue with bosses and co-workers about personal injuries or issues affecting their work.”

Prevention better than cure

Rockhampton physiotherapist Lesley Smith agreed.

“A lot of injuries come through repetitive strain and that’s why regular breaks and regular stretching is also important especially with tasks like hammering, or drill work where we’ve got that constant gripping,” she said.

“If they do a lot of work leaning forward, obviously keeping those particular muscles stretched out is also important.”

Published by the ABC to read more open the attached link https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-02/tradies-still-value-tools-more-than-health/11370862

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