TRADIES NATIONAL HEALTH MONTH HEALTH SNAPSHOT

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1 TRADIES NATIONAL HEALTH month AUGUST 2016 TRADIES NATIONAL HEALTH MONTH HEALTH SNAPSHOT Prepared by the Australian Physiotherapy Association ABOUT THE TRADIES NATIONAL HEALTH MONTH SNAPSHOT Marcus Dripps, APA National President The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has compiled the following health snapshot to highlight the need to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of tradies* in Australia. This snapshot gathers research and insights to highlight the extent of the issue and solutions to create change. While musculoskeletal injuries like back and neck injuries remain among the top health issues facing tradies, other chronic health conditions and disability pose risks to this demographic. Beyond the quality of life impacts these health issues have on the individual and their families, there are significant impacts to business, the health system and the economy. These impacts will grow if we don t improve information and access for tradies to evidence-based care like physiotherapy. Physiotherapists play a critical role in providing early healthcare intervention support by diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease and disability through physical means. Working in partnership with their patients, physiotherapists can help them recovery from injury, reduce pain and stiffness, increase mobility, and prevent injury. The APA is proud to lead Tradies National Health Month each year to champion awareness and create tools to enable tradies to take control of their health and stay well. Tradies health must be everyone s priority. As the national member association for physiotherapists, we believe all Australians should have access to quality physiotherapy, when and where required, to optimise health and wellbeing. PHYSIOTHERAPY HAS MORE THAN TRADIES BACKS *Note we have described tradies as occupations involving a component of labour intensive manual handling or repetitive physical work. TNHM03

2 TRADIES HAVE A HIGH RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY Rates of serious claims by occupation ( ) Tradies have among the highest serious injury and disease compensation claims in Australia, according to Safe Work Australia data. Labourers, technicians, and machinery operators and drivers are among the top four occupations when it comes to the number of serious injury claims. Occupation Incidence rate (claims per 1000 employees) Frequency rate (claims per million hours) Labourers Machinery operators and drivers Community and personal service workers Technicians and trade workers Sales workers Professionals Clerical and administrative workers Managers Total THE PRIMARY CAUSES OF SERIOUS CLAIMS Of all occupations 33% WERE FROM MUSCULAR STRESS 22% WERE FROM FALLS, TRIPS AND SLIPS while lifting or handling objects

3 WATCH MORE THAN JUST YOUR BACK The majority of serious claims are from injuries and musculoskeletal disorders, including traumatic join, ligament, muscle and tendon injuries. WHAT IS THE ISSUE? 90% of serious claims of all occupations were from INJURIES AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS Almost half of these were traumatic joint, ligament, muscle and tendon injury While musculoskeletal disorders remain high, the number of serious claims fell by 7% between and However, claims arising from increased by 4% between and PHYSIOTHERAPY HAS A ROLE TO PLAY Nervous system and sense organ IN PREVENTING, MANAGING AND TREATING THESE CONDITIONS Wounds, lacerations, amputations and internal organ damage Digestive system Mental disorders Skin and subcutaneous tissue Infectious and parasitic Respiratory system Circulatory system Traumatic joint, ligament, muscle and tendon injury Fractures Musculoskeletal and connective tissue Burns Intracranial injuries Injury to nerves and spinal cord

4 WATCH MORE THAN JUST YOUR BACK Serious claims: percentage by nature of injury or disease in all occupations Injury & musculoskeletal disorders Traumatic joint/ligament & muscle/ tendon injury 44.7% Musculoskeletal & connective tissue 15.2% Wounds, lacerations, amputations & internal organ damage 15.2% Fractures 9.2% Other injuries 3.0% Burn 1.7% Intracranial injuries 0.5% Injury to nerves & spinal cord 0.2% Total injury & musculoskeletal disorders 89.80% Diseases Mental disorders 5.9% Digestive system 2.2% Nervous system & sense organ 1.0% Skin & subcutaneous tissue 0.5% Infectious & parasitic 0.2% Respiratory system 0.2% Circulatory system 0.1% Other 0.1% Total 10.20%. For tradies specifically injury and musculoskeletal disorders rates of claims Occupation Frequency rate (serious claims per million hours worked) Incidence rate (serious claims per 1000 employees) Labourers Machinery operators and drivers Technicians and trade workers For tradies specifically disease rates of claims Occupation Frequency rate (serious claims per million hours worked) Incidence rate (serious claims per 1000 employees) Labourers Machinery operators and drivers Technicians and trade workers

5 WHAT BODY PARTS ARE AFFECTED? While backs still present the highest proportion of body stress injury claims, other body parts affected include upper limbs, lower legs, hips, the abdomen and the pelvic region. Body stress: serious claims by body part among all occupations BACK (UPPER AND LOWER) 41.5% UPPER LIMBS 32.4% ABDOMEN AND PELVIC REGION 6% Falls, trips and slips of a person: serious claims by body part among all occupations ANKLE 16.9% BACK 12.6% SHOULDER 7.8% KNEE 20.5% The back (upper or lower) had the highest claims, yet this fell by 21% between and The only major physical location group to show an increase in serious claims between and was lower limbs, which was largely driven by a 21% increase in the number of lower leg-related serious claims and a 17% increase in hip-related claims. Lateral epicondylalgia (LE) or in other words, tennis elbow LE most commonly affects the dominant arm, particularly when performing repetitive activity. The greatest burden of LE is among manual working populations where musculoskeletal upper limb injuries account for some of the longest work absences. Up to 17% of workers in industries that involve highly repetitive hand tasks experience LE. This results in an absence from work of up to 219 workdays, with direct costs of $ per person. Data from WorkCover Queensland indicates that upper limb (shoulder and elbow) injuries account for 18% of all work-related claims ( ), which is equal to the prevalence of back injuries.

6 OLDER TRADIES COULD HAVE HIGHER HEALTH RISKS Serious claims are increasing among those aged 55+ Older employees in all occupations had higher frequency rates of serious claims than younger employees over a 12-year period ( and ). The proportion of all serious claims awarded to employees aged 55 and above rose from 9% in to 18% in This has exceeded the proportion of all serious claims awarded to employees aged years since % Percentage of serious claims 18% 16% 14% 12% 10% 8% p Aged Aged 55+ years CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS AND OTHER LONG TERM IMPACTS Workers such as tradespersons and labourers, and industries such as agriculture and construction have high rates of chronic health conditions. 1 One study found that retirement from the construction industry due to disability is around 143% more common than in the general population. 2 It found that compared with the white collar workers, a higher prevalence of hearing deficiencies, signs of obstructive lung, increased body mass index, and musculoskeletal abnormalities were found among the construction workers at the baseline exam. During the follow up period, 141 men died and 341 men left the labour market due to disability. Compared with white collar workers, the construction workers showed a 3.5 to 8.4-fold increased rate of disability (P< 0.05 for all occupational groups) and a 1.2 to 2.1-fold increased all cause mortality (NS) Deborah J Schofield, Med J Aust 2. Arndt V1 et al, Occup Environ Med

7 WHAT IS THE COST? The total estimated cost of work-related injuries and is rising. In the total estimated cost of work-related injuries and was $60.6 billion among all occupations Between and , the median time lost from work for a serious claim rose by 29% from 4.2 working weeks to 5.4 working weeks Over the same period, the median compensation paid rose by 71% from $5200 to $8900. Cost of work-related injuries and Total estimated cost $34.4 billion $57.5 billion $60.6 billion Estimated cost as a percentage of GDP 5% 5.9% 4.8% Percentage of cost borne by workers 44% 49% 74% Percentage of cost borne by community 53% 47% 21% Percentage of cost borne by employers 3% 4% 5% Source: The Cost of Work-Related Injury and Illness for Australian Employers, Workers and the Community, , Safe Work Australia Serious claims: median time lost and compensation paid by industry, to Median time lost (weeks) Occupation % change Labourers % Technicians % and trade workers Community % and personal service workers Machinery operators and drivers % Median compensation paid Occupation % change Labourers $4400 $5600 $6500 $7000 $7400 $ % Technicians $5000 $6400 $7400 $7900 $8200 $ % and trade workers Community $4600 $6200 $6600 $6500 $7100 $ % and personal service workers Machinery operators and drivers $5900 $7800 $8600 $9000 $10400 $ %

8 WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT THE ISSUE? It is vital tradies become more aware and active in improving their health and safety. Early injury intervention and treatment through evidence-based care, including physiotherapy, must be part of the solution to prolong working careers, reduce time away from work and improve general wellbeing. Employers, peak bodies and government need to acknowledge the significant role they play in ensuring their workers are fit-for-work and offer appropriate support when it comes to preventative health measures. While it is essential individuals and employers consult with a physiotherapist for a tailored program, general tips for preventing injury include: ensure tasks are risk assessed regularly to reduce the strain check the equipment you are using is adequate, easily handled and fit for purpose use good posture and technique when handling objects eg: keep your chest up where possible keep your core strong by exercising regularly. Pilates focuses on this area of physical wellbeing keep your flexibility by doing 5 10 minutes of stretching every morning maintain quality sleep and nutrition to ensure you have the energy to remain well, alert and safe throughout the day. PARTNER WITH PHYSIOTHERAPY FOR WORKPLACE CHANGE. Visit tradieshealth.com.au to find out how you can get involved.

9 REFERENCES Bisset LM, Vicenzino B (2015) Physiotherapy management of lateral epicondylalgia. Journal of Physiotherapy 61: Safe Work Australia (2015) Key work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia, viewed at Safe Work Australia (2011) Hazardous manual tasks, Code of Practice Safe Work Australia (2011) How to manage work health and safety risks, Code of Practice Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods, August 2006 Canberra: ABS. Safe Work Australia. Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities. Canberra: Safe Work Australia. safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/statistics/work-related-fatalities/pages/workrelatedtraumaticinjuryfatalities Safe Work Australia ( ) Australian Workers Compensation Statistics, viewed at safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/documents/897/australian-workers-compensation-statistics pdf Source:http://www.aihw.gov.au/arthritis-and-musculoskeletal-conditions/http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id= Arndt V1 et al, Occup Environ Med Oct;53(10): Older workers in the construction industry: results of a routine health examination and a five year follow up found at pubmed/ ?dopt=abstract Hildebrandt VH. Back pain in the working population: prevalence rates in Dutch trades and professions. Ergonomics 1995; 38: <PubMed> Siebert U, Rothenbacher D, Daniel U, Brenner H. Demonstration of the healthy worker survivor effect in a cohort of workers in the construction industry. Occup Environ Med 2001; 58: <PubMed> Deborah J Schofield, Susan L Fletcher, Arul Earnest, Megan E Passey and Rupendra N Shrestha, Med J Aust 2008; 188 (4): Where are older workers with chronic conditions employed? Viewed at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2008/188/4/where-are-older-workers-chronic-conditions-employed#9 physiotherapy.asn.au

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