In August we are shining a light on Tradie Health Month to celebrate all the intensive hard-working labour that tradies do. Also to stress the importance of health and safety given the level of injuries that tradies sustain when on the job in a quest to minimise incidents and reduce workplace risks.
Work Safe Australia has reported that tradies are involved in almost 3 in 5 serious workplace injuries, yet make up a mere 35 percent of the total workforce.
Given the high-risk nature of their duties, tradies are susceptible to injury far more than any other job type.
And so, as an employer, the health and safety of your workers is paramount for protecting their health and wellbeing and also to maintain workforce continuity given the project nature of contracts.
Firstly, let’s establish what a ‘tradie’ is.
A tradesperson or ‘tradie’, is classed as a technician or trades worker, labourer or machinery operator and/or driver.
60% of these workers suffer with aches and pains most days, due to the demanding nature of repetitive manual tasks. It therefore comes as no surprise, that the most common types of injury that have been recorded under serious work compensation claims include:
- Traumatic joint injuries 44%
- Wounds/lacerations 18%
- Musculoskeletal disorders 15%
- Fractures 10%
Promoting good movement habits, conducting Work Health & Safety training that includes the likes of safe lifting techniques are steps tradies can take to reduce the risks of getting injured at work.
Take a holistic approach
A three pronged training, compliance and physical health ongoing regimen is a great way to manage tradie health and safety.
As part of the onboarding experience, tradies can expect to go through an orientation of the site/s they will be working on and the general etiquette to follow. This will include the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) required for them to undertake their activities safely. Depending on the job, tradie PPE can include protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other equipment that is designed to protect the body from injury or skin from infection.
Workplace training, whether face-to-face or undertaken online as a series of compliance elearning will include general occupational health and safety fundamentals including safe manual handling. The training requirements for a tradie job may extend to working at heights or involve handling hazard chemicals depending on the high-risk nature of the role. These types of training topics come under the banner of work health and safety (WHS) and WHS laws. Some subjects may require annual refresher training in order to maintain ongoing worker and organisational compliance.
Employers can protect tradies and manage risk through ensuring compliance and safety. Contractor management technology (otherwise known as a contractor management system) enables the scrupulous management of contractors via a single platform end-to-end tradie management . A CMS allows the capture and verification of vital information and ensures everyone is trained, qualified and ready to work across your entire company. It may also allow the monitoring of visitor management and worker levels, to be compliant with the number of people on site with fluctuating COVID restrictions in place. A CMS also has the capacity to include workplace digital training that can be assigned to individuals depending on the nature of their work responsibilities. A CMS makes it easy for the tradie and also the employer given it encompasses everything needed ‘to get the job done’
3.Physical and mental health
Tradies exert themselves physically continually when on site, and so best practice joint care is a must. Maintaining physical congruence can be achieved with conscious movement that can be taught, along with a pathway for remedial therapy. Whether this is subsidised through the organisation or simply recommended as best practice with the onus put on the tradie information should be accessible by the employer, covering each geographical area.
With pressure placed on tradies to work hard, the mental wellbeing of workers is equally as important. Long hours of physically demanding movement guaranteeing soreness can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Feelings of mental isolation from friends and family is common. A poor work/life balance is an easy trap to fall into given the culture that has traditionally been to get over it and get on with it. It’s important to raise awareness of tradie mental health and that tradies feel empowered to communicate these feelings with a colleague, family member or someone appointed within the building that can help – a wellbeing officer, or an organisational partnership like EAP where all conversations are confidential, open and supportive. Tools for positive mental health for ongoing resilience are equally as valuable as those used for the job itself.
Does your organisation utilise the benefits of a contractor management system?
As we’ve touched on above, the employer can best support the tradie through maintaining compliance and high level best practice processes.
With a CMS, the organisation will quickly reduce costs and increase operational efficiency
- Know who’s working for you
- Know where people are
- Reduce administration and costs
- Meet your regulatory obligations
- Easily resource your next project
- Have more time
For example, Is the tradie qualified and insured to work on your sites? The appointed person or team within the organisation can check if the tradie is suitably insured, qualified and that they understand the processes, risks, and hazards with working at each site or across your entire company.
Digital contractor and visitor site management
Monitoring access and safety across every site becomes easy as you can replace the attendance book, and monitor the movements of every visitor, contractor and employee across your entire organisation.
Critical business information delivery before arriving to site
Deliver your critical business information before your workers commence work. When your workers are trained, there is less risk of onsite accidents and unsafe behaviour taking place. When your workers are compliant with workplace policies, there is less risk of unauthorised conduct or under-qualified workers being assigned to jobs. Ensure your team is fully trained and compliant with workplace regulations before they start work or even enter a worksite.
Want to chat to us about your tradie contractor management to help optimise your tradie health and safety? Get in touch. Anything to add that we’ve missed? Let’s continue the conversation!