Tradies urged to take action to reduce musculoskeletal injuries

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Photo: Life-Of-Pix, Pixabay

Tradies are urged to pay attention to their health and wellbeing and how they can protect themselves from injuries in the workplace.

WorkCover Queensland says the Tradies National Health month is a great time to keep a check on their safety, health and wellbeing.

“While the focus is on for the month of August, it’s important that workers continue their behaviour change for the duration of their career,” said WorkCover Queensland Industry Manager, Construction, Melanie Stojanovic.

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common injury type across all industries. It refers to an injury to the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments or soft tissues. This may manifest in several conditions such as muscle sprain and strain, back pain, abdominal hernia, soft tissue injuries, fracture and dislocation, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The injuries can happen to anyone regardless of a worker’s age or the industry he is. The injuries may happen suddenly as a result of a single event, or the symptoms can reveal slowly over time.

“Our data shows that 42% of claims in 2015-2016 were for musculoskeletal injuries (down from 46% the previous year), and 33% of those were back related. If we could reduce that again by just a few percent, that’s a huge help as it means less injuries, less time off work, and therefore more productivity in the construction industry,” said Ms Stojanovic.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) provided a few tips to protect tradies from musculoskeletal diseases.

Get a grip on the way you handle objects

Don’t overdo it on the job. The majority of injuries are to joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.

So watch how you are handling objects:

  • Keep your chest up where possible when handling
  • Keep loads close to the body
  • Avoid awkward and twisted postures
  • Ask for assistance when required
  • Use equipment to make tasks safer and easier

Something doesn’t feel right? Early intervention of niggles, aches and pains prevent a small problem turning into a large one. Injuries shouldn’t affect your work, family and social life. So don’t ignore the warning signs.

You don’t need a six-pack to be ‘fit for work’

Being fit for work doesn’t mean having chiselled abs, going for a run at the end of the day or benching 80kgs.

Performing a simple set of preventative stretches and exercises can keep your joints and muscles ‘fit’ and avoid injury.

It’s the small things that help you keep fit for work:

  • Can you bend and reach without strain? Keep your flexibility by doing 5-10 minutes of stretching every morning
  • Take frequent micro-breaks during the day rather than infrequent long breaks
  • Stay hydrated—2-3 litres of water is what you need!
  • Keep your core strong—go with your other half to Pilates once in a while
  • Sleep well and eat well—give yourself the energy to help you remain healthy, alert and safe

More information and resources on preventing musculoskeletal injuries are available on the Tradies health website. These can also be obtained by calling WorkCover on 1300 362 128.

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