August is Tradies National Health Month, and the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is raising awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations – among individuals, their families, employers and the wider community.

While it’s improving, Australia’s tradies continue to have among the highest health and safety issues of any sector. Time off work due to poor health and injury has a significant impact on families, businesses and communities.

A recent APA study found that Aussie tradies are almost twice as likely to take good care of their tools as their bodies with 79 per cent of tradies taking good care of their tools compared to just 47 per cent who took good care of their bodies.

Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of tradies said they had been injured in their current job and half of these said they expected to be injured again. The research found work injuries did not only take a toll physically but were affecting tradies’ mental health with 20 per cent of tradies surveyed reporting a mental health issue as a result of a work injury.

Workplace injuries are also hitting tradies in the hip pocket with 65 per cent stating they had lost income due to time off work because of an injury and 16 per cent saying they had lost $5,000 or more. This is estimated to be a staggering $1.37 billion in lost income nationally.

The APA survey findings are supplemented by the latest data from Safe Work Australia, which indicates that almost three in five (58 per cent) serious workplace injuries involve a tradie, despite tradies making up only 30 per cent of the workforce.

Tradies National Health Month is an annual national awareness campaign that encourages tradies to look after their most valuable asset – their health. 

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Australian Tradies – Health Research report June 2018 – a national survey of tradies by Empirica Research for the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Safe Work Australia 2015-16 National Data Set for Compensation-based Statistics.