When you’re a tradie, risky situations are part of a day’s work. While you put a lot of time and effort into looking out for your workers’ health and safety, the nature of tradie work means that sometimes injuries still happen.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to eliminate dangers on the job. However, there are ways to reduce the chances of injuries and avoid workers’ comp claims. Here, we take a look at some of the most common tradie injuries, and give you some tips on workplace injury prevention.
The importance of injury prevention for tradies
It goes without saying that tradies are more likely to get injured than, say, a desk worker or a waitress. The injury incident rate for tradies is three times higher than other industries, and even though tradies only make up a third of Australia’s workforce, they represent 58% of serious workers’ comp claims.
It’s not just the big injuries — 60% of tradies say they have aches and pains as part of their job. This is because tradies tend to ‘tough it out’, causing small problems to become big ones over time.
Injury claims don’t just put your team at risk — they put your business at risk as well. After all, if a worker is injured, that leaves you short-staffed for jobs or out of pocket with a workers’ comp claim. That’s why injury prevention is important for every tradie, from chippies to sparkies.
Back-related (musculoskeletal) injuries
Tradies spend a lot of time moving heavy objects. It comes as no surprise that musculoskeletal injuries, like slipped discs or lumbar sprains, make up 15% of all tradie injuries.
If you’ve ever had a back injury, you’ll know that it can take weeks or months to heal — and in some cases, it never fully goes away. Luckily, you can minimise the risk of musculoskeletal injuries by:
- Reminding your team to keep their chest up if they’re handling heavy objects.
- Keeping loads as close to the body as possible.
- Training your tradies on proper lifting techniques. Bend at the knees and lift heavy objects using the leg and hip muscles (like a deadlift). This takes the strain off the back.
- Focusing on developing deep core muscles. Mayo Clinic has a great set of at-home exercises to improve core strength.
Joint and ligament injuries
When most of your day is spent reaching high up to tighten a bolt, putting heavy items on shelves, drilling or lugging heavy tools around, your joints and ligaments take a massive hit. Joint and ligament damage (such as shoulder impingements, wrist sprains, torn ACLs or other knee and ankle injuries) make up 44% of tradie injuries.
Joint and ligament injuries often stem from repetitive movements, or muscular imbalances. Strengthening the joints and warming up are key, and can be done by:
- Encouraging your team to warm up for 5-10 minutes before a job. 66% of tradies say they’d be more inclined to stretch or warm up if their boss prioritised it.
- Focusing on building balanced joints with daily exercises. For example, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has a great resource for building shoulder strength and mobility.
- Teaching your team to spot warning signs. If an employee is waking up with a stiff shoulder, or experiences wrist pain when tightening bolts, they should take a break or consider seeing a physio.
Wounds or lacerations
Sharp objects are everywhere on a job. Just take a look around your work site, and you’ll find tons of things that have the potential to cause wounds, including power drills, screws, nails and scrap metal. Unsurprisingly, wounds make up 18% of all tradie injury claims.
When you’ve worked as a tradie for years and years it’s easy to get too comfortable and let everyday safety measures fall through the cracks. But you’re not invincible to slip-ups so it’s important to ensure you’re vigilant about health and safety in the workplace through:
- Stressing the importance of using personal protective gear, including goggles or gloves. It takes a few seconds, but could save your team from a world of problems in the future.
- Always using the right equipment for the job. Don’t use a substitute if a tool isn’t available, even if you’re running late on a project.
- Making sure all of your team is trained in First Aid, including how to deal with open wounds. Responding quickly and correctly to injuries on-site can reduce the damage done, and minimise the risk of infection.
If you do end up with a workers’ comp claim, it’s important you have all the information about the accident, including the job site location and the customer. Geo is job management software that helps you manage all the details of your jobs in one place. Give it a go with a free 30-day trial now.
Want to say goodbye to annoying paperwork?
Geo is easy to use, has all the tools you need and is FREE for 30 days
SIMILAR BLOG POST