Reality check for Tradies – Before and after a big day at work
If you are a tradie it probably won’t surprise you that despite extensive education and occupational health and safety regulations, trades and manual workers are far more likely to sustain injuries than all other types of workers. But what may surprise and alarm you is that injured workers bear 77 per cent of the costs, which includes loss of current and future income and non-compensated medical expenses. This loss of earnings or production potential is highest in people up to age 44, and three times higher for men than women*.
Injury Prevention for Young Tradies
Over one third of the total number of work related injury cases are related to body stressing or manual handling cases. While sound Occupation Health and Safety practices are now mandatory, musculoskeletal disorders, wounds, and joint and ligament injuries still account for 74 per cent of all cases*. So putting in place a preventative program that involves remedial massage alongside sound occupational health practices could lead to a relatively pain-free and functional working life. Despite the impact on younger tradies, according to Jack Feehan, professional Remedial Massage Therapist, few young tradespeople come into his clinic. ‘When we are young and fit, we all think we are indestructible but wear and tear always catches up with us. As tradies get a little older they usually present with pre-existing injuries when pain and limits to their mobility become too burdensome.’ says Jack.
Recovering from a big week and before the next
Typically Jack sees tradespeople when they’re in pain and need to get back to work quickly. ‘Often their problems present after a long hard week of work, or when they’re doing something unusual at work which makes them a bit sore such as crawling around under houses, or roofing, or excessive heavy lifting for example. ‘Seeing a therapist when they have worked particularly hard, or before they know they have a big week ahead of them will help prevent injury and promote recovery.
Income protection insurance is one way to avoid the financial impact but of course it costs. Depending on your risk profile and age, a basic policy for a young tradesperson could be as low as $40 per month. However a more comprehensive policy could cost anywhere from $100 per month through to $1,000 per month for someone requiring a higher amount of cover when children and mortgage repayments come into your income needs (Source: http://www.tradesmaninsurance.com.au/how-much-does-tradesman-insurance-cost). Of course relying on insurance alone doesn’t make financial or physical sense. Many injuries can be avoided by better body management.
A team approach
‘Good health care requires a team approach. Co-treating with other physical and musculoskeletal therapists and medical professionals when traumatic injuries are involved is an important part of sound preventative and musculoskeletal management,’ says Jack. Putting in place a regular massage treatment is even more important for younger and older tradespeople when you consider that while comprising only 31% of the workforce, technicians and trades workers, machinery operators, drivers and labourers, contribute 58% of total cases and 57% of total costs to work related injuries. *Safe Work Australia ‘The Cost of Work-related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community: 2012–13’
Watch Jack’s video and find more about how a professional remedial massage therapist can help you stay in your trade longer.