Tradies encouraged to care for their most important assets during Tradies National Health Awareness Month

Tradies are encouraged to look after their sight and hearing as well as their physical health.

AUGUST is Tradies National Health Awareness Month, begun ten years ago by the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

The association is concerned that physically-demanding trade jobs can cause and exacerbate a range of injuries.

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It found that tradies are overrepresented in workplace statistics compared with other workers and the average time off work because of serious workplace injury is five-to-six weeks, which is time many tradies simply can’t afford.

The association encourages tradies to evaluate their workplace culture and practices and to focus more on their health and safety.

In Coffs Harbour, optometrists and audiology professionals have joined forces to remind local labourers, tradespeople, and home DIY’ers alike to be vigilant of looking after their eyes and ears.

This comes after new research has found that of the 9,298 technicians, tradespeople, labourers, and machinery operators in Coffs Harbour, about half, are not taking the preventative measures to look after their eyes and ears.

The research also found those that consider themselves ‘weekend tradies’ or ‘DIY professionals’, are also not prioritising their ear and eye health.

Of the 73 per cent of Australians who do handy work around the house (eg, mowing the lawn, gardening, painting, DIY projects with power tools), 39 per cent of them admit to not wearing hearing and/or eye projection for these activities.

Local Coffs Harbour Central Specsavers Optometrist, Jason Kimberly, said, “We can’t stress enough how important it is to look after your hearing and your eyesight”.

He said, “Once you lose it, there is no getting it back”.

“However, there are preventative measures you can take and it’s even more important for our tradies to be taking these precautions as their working environments make them more vulnerable to experiencing damage to their hearing and sight.”

He recommended tradies wear protection such as eye goggles and hearing protection when exposed to loud noise or debris and wear full coverage sunglasses when working outside.

He suggested they test the noise of their working environment and get their eyes and ears tested regularly.

Caleb Johnson, from Forest Built, holds a ‘toolbox meeting’ each week with his team and includes safety issues.

He said, “The biggest occupational health and safety issue with apprentices is ear and eye protection”.

Mr Johnson said, “I stress this with our young blokes because I’m suffering a bit from not taking enough care when I was young”.

By Andrew VIVIAN

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