The importance of ensuring occupational safety at work

Ahead of National Occupational Health Month, “CityNews” reached out to businesses that have the knowledge, skills and equipment to keep occupations safe.

According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association, 60% of tradespeople often experience aches and pains due to their work.

Their research also found that two-thirds of trades agreed they would be more likely to stretch or warm up before starting work if their employer made it a priority.

These statistics explain why the Australian Physiotherapy Association organizes the Tradies National Health Month initiative each August.

The aim of the initiative is to raise awareness of the health risks and injuries that affect those working in commercial professions, as well as the ripple effects on families, employers and the wider community.

Looking ahead to the month, “CityNews” is aimed at businesses that have the knowledge, skills and equipment that can help keep
safe trades.

Luke Folkard, left, with Nathan Merritt.

WorkSafe ACT warns young workers are at risk

“A MANAGER or boss yelling at you is just as dangerous as a drill without a guard,” says Luke Folkard, Young Worker Strategy Coordinator for WorkSafe ACT.

“Like physical health, psychological health is an important part of workplace health and safety for young workers, including young trades,” he says.

“They may be exposed to risks such as stress, intimidation, fatigue, violence and aggression, sexual harassment, difficult situations or traumatic events and, in the workplace, psychosocial risks must be managed like any other risk.”

Luke says data analysis shows that young workers are one of the most vulnerable groups in workplaces and may be at greater risk of injury, especially when they are new to the workplace. .

“Young workers may be less likely to voice concerns or not know where to report issues,” says Luke.

“When your boss asks you to stay after work or work on Saturdays, many young workers feel like they can’t say no.

“We seek to increase the education of employers and workers on their rights and duties.”

Young Worker Inspector for WorkSafe ACT, Nathan Merritt, says that as an apprentice bricklayer, he had a positive experience with his employer and is working to bring that to more people.

“I had good support from my boss, if I needed to report an incident I knew where to go and it’s a right I think everyone deserves,” he says.

“I knew my roles and responsibilities, I knew what was right and wrong, and I had the confidence to stand up when I needed to and that’s something we want more young workers to be able to do. .”

For more information and resources, call WorkSafe ACT on 132231 or visit

Pat Seears, owner of Seears Workwear, right, with his son Shane, left.

“Best in the business” in safety equipment

BACKED with over 90 years of combined industry experience, the Seears Workwear team are “the biggest and best in the business” when it comes to providing workplace safety gear and equipment, says the owner Pat Seears.

“Everything is the best quality from the best manufacturers,” he says.

“We have high visibility clothing, hard hats, safety boots, gloves, goggles and goggles, respirators and much more.”

Having started as a “two-bob shop in the early 80s”, Pat says Seears Workwear has grown to provide one of the largest ranges of workwear in Australia, including brands such as Cat, Akubra, Rockport, Huski, FXD and Steel Blue to name a few.

The store also includes workwear for chefs, paramedics and firefighters, says Pat, who knows the needs of local businesses.

Located on Barrier Street, it also says they stock safety work boots, leather shoes and steel-toed canvas shoes, from brands such as Puma and Dunlop.

He says Seears can also help businesses through their corporate uniform services, which provide custom embroidery services for promotional apparel and business uniforms.

Seears Workwear, 60 Barrier Street, Fyshwick. Call 6280 4111 or visit

Helps prevent and manage pain

COMMERCIAL PEOPLE work in an incredibly demanding environment, says Sam Catherall, exercise physiologist at Higher Function.

“Carpenters, painters, electricians and other trades have a variety of different skills, but all need a well-rounded, physically and mentally strong body to complete their jobs,” he says.

“Lower back pain is the most commonly reported complaint, which can result from a multitude of contributing factors, including repetitive motion, lack of stability and strength, stress and anxiety, lack of rest and nutrition and overtime.

Sam thinks psychological stress is also reported in the construction industry.

“With such a competitive market, there can be the added stress of completing one job quickly while marketing the next.

“This has the potential to encourage poor work-to-rest ratios, leading to an increased risk of injury.”

Sam says 88% of tradespeople said they take good care of their tools, but only 61% say they take good care of their bodies.

Tradies can see a physical therapist or exercise physiologist for an initial assessment and receive a tailored exercise program to use in their own gym, at home or, according to Sam, at Higher Function.

“Find what works for you and incorporate it into your specific lifestyle.”

Superior Function Physio & Pilates, Suite 4, Level 1/23 Petrie Plaza. Call 6262 9664 or visit

Treatment for chronic pain varies from person to person

Orthopedics ACT orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Tsai.

WHEN treating chronic pain, Dr. Nick Tsai of Orthopedics ACT says it’s key to note that pain differs from person to person.

“It is important to determine whether the pain is mechanical, which can be managed operationally by repairing or replacing a joint, or related to other causes such as the spine or nerves, which often require medication, injections or other methods of treatment,” he says. .

Most often, Dr. Tsai says Orthopedics ACT sees patients with osteoarthritis, a condition he describes as “very debilitating.”

“It can negatively affect quality of life, sleep, and make normal functioning difficult,” he says.

“In general, this type of pain responds very well [to treatment]even if it’s been a long time.

But the experienced team at Orthopedics ACT can also help with other types of chronic pain, says Dr. Tsai.

“Some people may experience pain, which is not mechanical, but related to nerve damage and can become what is called complex regional pain syndrome,” says Dr. Tsai.

“It’s a different type of pain, which usually doesn’t lend itself to surgical treatment, but requires a multidisciplinary approach to pain.

“Associate Professor Tillman Boesel, Visiting Pain Management Specialist at Orthopedics ACT, sees people with this variant of pain.”

Orthopedics ACT, Woden Specialist Medical Center, Level 2, 90 Corinna Street, Phillip. Call 6221 9320 or visit

Tradies are athletes in a different uniform

Physio Kylie Turton with patient Gabriel Turner.

“MORE than 30% of Australians work in commerce or industry, yet they account for nearly 60% of all workplace injuries,” says Roz Penfold, owner of Atlas Physiotherapy.

“Trades are really athletes in a different uniform,” says Roz, who brings more than three decades of experience to her role.

“They come in all shapes, sizes and ages! In fact, traders often also train in the gym, on the soccer field or take out their running or cycling shoes after work.

“Trades rely on their musculoskeletal health when performing their jobs and may tend to ignore bodily stress, pain and aches which, if left untreated, can lead to debilitation and disability at the workplace. coming.”

Roz says the most common workplace injuries suffered by trades are shoulder dislocations and tears, cartilage and ligament damage to the knee,

ankle sprains, lower back strains and muscle strains – especially the quadriceps, calves and hamstrings.

“It’s well known that physiotherapists are very experienced in treating sports and work-related injuries, and that expertise translates into helping trades prevent and recover from injuries,” she says.

“Atlas physiotherapists can help with the initial management of these injuries, provide treatment if needed, and most importantly guide them to their place of work safely and in a timely manner.”

Depending on the specific trade, Roz also recommends a number of steps that can be taken to help minimize risk.

“Warm up and stretch if possible, work around a neutral wrist position, vary tasks throughout the day, reduce time using vibrating tools, alternate between using power tools and other tasks, change body position regularly and use protective aids, gloves and shields where appropriate.”

Atlas Sports and Dance Physiotherapy, 30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Call 6248 5505
or visit

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Ian Meikle, editor

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