August 2022 is Tradies National Health Month. It is an awareness initiative that shines a light on the importance of tradies health. At Master Builders NSW, this is an initiative we can wholeheartedly support.  

For those in the building and construction industry, it will come as no surprise that in a recent survey more than 60 percent of tradies reported having aches and pains as a direct result of their work (The Tradies Health Survey June 2022). Sometimes what can start as a small niggle can turn into a debilitating issue, that can impact not just the quality of your work, but also the quality of your life. Tradies National Health Month is a time for everyone in the building and construction industry to think about what they can do to improve their health and safety and long-term quality of life.

At Master Builders, we are deeply invested in the health and safety of not only our apprentices and students but in the industry as a whole. We are rigorous in our health and safety protocols and training and according to Master Builders Apprenticeship Services Safety Officer Tarek Farhat, “Preparation for the day’s work is key. Warming up before you start work is crucial to preventing injury and those ongoing aches and pains. Being a tradie is hard physical work, in sometimes hard conditions and it can take months to build up the appropriate fitness and muscle memory. Good habits like warming up will go a long way to ensuring you stay injury free”.

As the Director of OHS Safety First and a Master Builders Trainer with more than 12 years of experience in WHS, Graham Stewart provides expert work health & safety training at the Master Builders Education Centre in Norwest. According to Graham “There are two things that every construction worker must always ensure; the first is that everyone gets home safely and the second that Australia’s stringent health and safety compliance protocols are met.”

“This health and safety messaging is reinforced right from the outset. Before we allow a Master Builders apprentice to commence on a worksite, they participate in Manual Handling training to ensure that they are learning the right techniques for lifting and pushing bulky large heavy items. Master Builders train their apprentices on how to carry out their work on the job site safely to reduce the risk of injuries.” According to Graham, “the body part with the highest rate of injury is hands, followed by arms, legs and ankles so we make sure our apprentices know the risks and how to mitigate them. We also make sure our Master Builders apprentices complete working with heights training before they set foot on a construction site.  Backs and brains can be the biggest casualties of falling from heights, which while less common than hand injuries can be significantly more serious or fatal. Correct training is key,” says Graham. “But the most important thing is to keep reinforcing the messages. Your health and safety doesn’t stop once you finish your apprenticeship. Being a tradesperson is a hard job, the margins are tight and deadlines are always looming. What we don’t want is tradies buckling under the pressure and rushing through their work. We need to have constant reminders of the risks involved and what you can do to ensure you stay fit and healthy and most importantly safe.”

Master Builders top tips for tradies health:

  • Warm up each morning with targeted stretches. Make it part of your morning routine.  
  • Encourage your team to build stretching into your onsite safety culture.
  • Pace your workload over the day to avoid overuse and over-tiredness.  
  • To guarantee you are operating in the most secure and safe way, keep up good communication with your co-workers and your bosses.
  • If you are in any doubt about your safety or the safety of your workplace, don’t be afraid to speak out.  
  • Understand that construction sites are high-pressure situations and check on your coworkers. 
  • Look after your health, your fitness, your diet, and your rest. You need all of them.   

For information about Master Builders Apprenticeship Services or Master Builders Health and Safety Training Courses, visit our website https://www.mbansw.asn.au/training