August 5, 2014 by Dadinator
This post and giveaway is part of the Tradies Health Month campaign, information can be found here at the Tradies National Health Month website.
As you all know, or are about to know, I am a teacher. I am decidedly not a trades person and I have all the technical skill of a cardboard box. What I do have, however, is a passion for talking about health issues that are focussed on men. I also have a knack for fiddling with and fixing things and fancy myself a bit of a handyman. Sometimes.
Of course Tradies are often parents, and parents are often fathers. The health of a tradesman can affect a bunch of people other than him or her.
We always assume people who work outdoors are automatically fitter and healthier than those who work indoors. It simply isn’t the case and Tradies Health Week aims to raise awareness for the many health issues Tradies do face. Go and look at this web site to be flabbergasted by some facts about those who work in the trades and the health issues they face ranging from nutrition to mental health issues. The campaign is about getting tradespeople to be more proactive and aware of their health on the job.
While no tradie myself, I’ve managed to hurt myself a few times while working with machinery. I even spent a short 2 week stint helping on a building site in the months after school finished. I was working with 2 carpenters (both chain-smokers) building house frames. I was using a nail gun and on one particular occasion the nail I was putting in hit a knot in the timber, ricocheted out of the beam and struck my thumb. It bounced straight out again, but it hurt a lot. As they bandaged me up and took me to get a precautionary X-ray I was told stories of these guys having nailed their fingers together and having put nails straight through their hands without seeing a doctor about it. It was different for me though because I was just a boy (to them). Makes me wonder how many injuries happen out there that never get seen at all.
Then there was the time I put my hand in a mower while the blade was turning. There was a clog in the grass catcher and I tried to clear it. Did I turn off the mower when I did it? No, no I did not and as i tried to scrape leaves out of the catcher I heard a loud “Thunk” and felt a sharp heat in my right index finger. The blades were blunt so rather than slicing me it kind of mangled my finger tip a bit… I taped it up myself and it healed, and I never made that mistake again. I put off seeing a doctor about it till the next day, and in the end it didn’t need stitches. Hurt though, and made typing very hard once I got back to my native territory of a desk later in the week.
Of course an acute injury is one thing. It is definite, easy to spot and something you react to straight away. But not all injuries occur this way, some build up slowly, they . When we moved to this house we had a large gum tree shortened in the back yard. The Arborist asked if we wanted it chopped up for firewood (which would talk an extra day), or if he should just leave it for us to do ourselves later. I opted for it to be left, and some months later went to work on it with my own brand new 450mm chainsaw.
I worked solidly for a couple of days on it (I needed frequent breaks because I wasn’t used to that kind of work) and still didn’t finish, but I knew I needed a break from the job. My hands were having trouble closing properly. The next day it got worse, I could barely move my fingers. I couldn’t close them past about half way and they hurt a lot. I was wearing garden gloves while chainsawing, and the vibration of the saw caused my hands to just stiffen up. They improved after a couple of days, but for a little while I thought I’d done myself some serious lasting damage. Back aches, strains, sprains and niggles can turn into serious health issues if you’re doing the same thing day-in-day-out. I made that discovery the hard way (again).
This hand stiffness also prevented me from picking up my son, which was devastating, even though it only lasted a few days. Injuries mean more when they stop you hugging someone else.
How often have we blokes (especially blokes) strained to pick up something that we really should get help with? You know, items with those pictures on the side of the box with 2 people lifting something and big letters saying “Team Lift”, well, raise your hand if you’ve ignored it (raises hand). I used to lug 40kg bags of premixed concrete around a hardware store, took it on pride that I could manage a couple of them at once when there was a perfectly good trolley sitting right beside them.
So, the message? If it hurts, get it looked at. If it’s dangerous, be careful. If it’s too much, get help. This could be written about any workers in the demanding world of the 21st century, but Tradies are particularly vulnerable. Their work is innately risky, and they are less likely to seek help or get something looked at because of some stupid outdated notion that it makes them seem weak.
Take care of yourselves, it’s the best way to take care of your family.
The good folk at Tradies Health Month are offering you, gentle readers, a chance to win a prize pack which includes: A pair of Bluesteel boots of your choice to the value of $400 and a Thermoskin brace for your ankle, knee or back. Enter using the giveaway box below! (you need to like The Dadinator on Facebook (you probably already do!), Tradies Health month on Facebook, visit their website. If you Tweet about the competition and/or tell me a story about your own worksite injuries you get extra chances to win.
The giveaway will be decided by random draw on Sunday August 15 at 5pm. The winner will be notified via email.
And stay safe out there.