Looking after your tools of trade
To any tradesman their tools of trade are their most valuable asset. Any first year apprentice is taught to look after their tools “look after your tools and they’ll look after you”. It is one of the most valuable lessons taught from the very first day on the job.
Unfortunately many tradies don’t have the same attitude to looking after their most valuable tools of trade, their own bodies. Hands, shoulders, backs, necks and knees are incredibly valuable tools to a tradesman that can’t be replaced by simply walking into a hardware shop and parting with some of your hard earned. Like any tools, if they are misused they will wear very quickly and become useless.
Tradies have amoungst the highest serious injury and disase compensations in Australia. Labourers, technicians and machinery operators are the top four trades at risk. Amounst the causes of these claims 33% were from muscluar stress when lifting or handling objects, and 22% were from falls, trips and slips. The most commonly injured body part is the upper and lower back, with ankle and knees falling victim with trips and falls. Such injuries can put a tradie out of work, as modified duities are often hard to come by in this type of industry.
So it is clear how important it is to look after your body from day one on the job. Some general tips for preventing injury (as prepared by the APA) include:
- Ensure tasks are risk assessed regularly to reduce the strain,
- Check the equipment you are using is adequate, easily handled and fit for purpose,
- Use good posture and technique when handling objects e.g.: keep your chest up where possible,
- Keep your core strong by exercising regularly,
- Keep your flexibility by doing 5–10 minutes of stretching every morning, 6. Maintain quality sleep and nutrition to ensure you have the energy to remain well, alert and safe throughout the day.
You need to learn to use your body as a machine, as to decrease the stress on the body and lead to less wear and tear over many years. Getting into good habits as early as possible and making sure that you look out for not only yourself but also your work mates will help everyone to be more productive at work, experience less pain and injury, and most importantly help you to enjoy your life outside of work with your friends and families. Afterall, isn’t that why we go to work in the first place.
It is for these reasons why this August is National Tradies Health Month, more awareness needs to be made and prevention strategies put in place to ensure no Tradie goes without work. Healthfocus Physiotherapy are proudly supporting Tradies to function at their very best level of health. For more information on National Tradies Health Month or to book an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists call any of our three clinics in Albury, Wodonga or Lavington today!