Keeping Tradies Healthy 🔧

By Sam Catherall – Exercise Physiologist


Tradies recognise that their work is physically demanding, yet overall workplace culture seems to lean towards the attitude of ‘toughing it out’. 69% of tradies believe that being sore is just normal for the work that they do.

Tradespeople have an incredibly demanding work environment. Carpenters, painters, electricians and other trades have a variety of different skill sets, but all of them require a well-rounded, physically and mentally strong body to complete their work. With tradespeople making up around 30% of the working population, it is important to appropriately educate on the importance of looking after their physical and mental health, as to reduce the risk of injuries and keep them at work.


Commonly reported injuries in tradies🚨

⚙ Lower back pain is the most frequently reported complaint, which can arise from an abundance of contributing factors including repetitive movements, poor stability & strength, stress & anxiety, poor rest & nutrition and working overtime. In fact, evidence has shown that workers that averaged 3 to 4 hours of overtime per day were 1.5 to 2 times as likely to develop certain chronic diseases.

⚙ Shoulder issues related to repetitive reaching and holding actions with the arm.

⚙ Knee injuries related to repetitive bending to the ground.

⚙ Ankle sprains related to working on uneven ground.

⚙ Psychological stress is largely reported in the construction industry. With such a competitive market, there can be an added stress of finishing a job quickly whilst also marketing for the next one. This has the potentiality of encouraging poor work to rest ratios, resulting in an increased risk of injury.


When asked, 88% of tradespeople reported they take good care of their tools, yet only 61% say they take good care of their bodies. Regular, structured exercise is imperative for keeping tradies’ bodies fit and strong, especially as you get older. Tradespeople and construction workers are often up early, so it may be difficult to schedule exercise before work, and with a long day, it may be easy to skip an afternoon work out altogether. But with the establishment of a good workout routine, tradespeople can manage pain, stress, over exertion and may find they have better quality sleep.  Not to mention building good habits with healthy food and hydration!


More benefits of exercise:

✅  Improve muscles resistance to fatigue (helpful for repetitive movements at work)
✅  Increase cardiovascular endurance for strenuous work tasks
✅  Decrease risk of cardiovascular disease
✅  May decrease risk of low back pain (most reported by tradespeople) and other injuries


How can Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology help your pain?

If you have noticed changes in pain at work, or your ability to effectively use your body to lift, squat or lunge, or if you have suffered an injury because of work, we recommend consulting with a physiotherapists or exercise physiologist. Both of which can assist with developing a healthy workout routine to keep you fit for work 💪🧠🧡🔧.

Take a listen to this 13min podcast and learn more about important physiotherapy research on tradies health.
Podcast: APA Queensland Chair of Occupational Health, Zac Lowth joins Brad from Trade Tools on the TRADIO podcast.

man stretching on pilates reformer



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