Tradies National Health Month

Tradies National Health Month

This month we are celebrating our tradies!

 

In light of Tradies National Health Month, we’ve researched various statistics for you:

  • Tradies are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to being exposed to the sun for extended periods of time;
  • Young apprentice tradesmen (17-25yo) generally do not eat enough fresh food and consume too much junk food on the job and at home;
  • 94% of tradies report that they don’t eat enough fruit and/or vegetables;
  • Tradies/construction workers and ‘blue collar’ careers, have some of the highest suicide rate in Australia amongst men;
  • 33% of males in the construction industry have high blood pressure;
  • 45% are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease;
  • 69% believed that being sore is just normal for the work they do;
  • 68% said that they follow safe guidelines of lifting, leaving 30% at greater risk of injury from unsafe lifting;
  • Every day 10 tradies are badly injured at work – a total of 3,650 injuries to tradies each year, with back injuries being the most common;

Sources: Vic Health Government, Blokes Psychology, Ethos Health, Service Seeking (dates ranging from 2017 – 2020).

 

How can WHS Vic help your workplace to support your tradies?

  • Individual Health Assessments onsite, screening for heart health, diabetes, cholesterol and body composition (including bone density screening) to determine a problem before it’s too late;
  • Presentations to your tradies from our dietician, tailored to you – we suggest information on how to maintain healthy body weight to combat diabetes, high cholesterol and an unhealthy heart. Our dietician can also explain times of the day to eat for tradies, the importance of specific foods for fuel and basic nutrition for health and wellbeing.
  • Presentations to your team involving stretching techniques before beginning work, lifting techniques, strengthening exercises and the norm of how your body should feel day to day;
  • Presentations from our psychologists to your team with techniques on how to achieve optimal mental health and
  • Onsite skin checks for your tradies;
  • In clinic (located in Geelong) audiometry and spirometry;
  • Drug and Alcohol education;
  • In clinic range of movement and physiotherapist assessment, offering advice and techniques to combat injury in the workplace;

Get in touch with us to help celebrate and support your tradies’ optimal health.

Tradies’ National Health Month

Tradies’ National Health Month

August raises awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations.
According to Victoria Health and Queensland Health, some common health issues that tradies are faced with include:
• Consistent sun exposure
• Psychological pressure
• Poor mental health
• Poor nutrition
• Insufficient exercise
• Alcohol and drugs
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂?
We offer 𝑒𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑠𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 to construction sites from qualified 𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑠, 𝑝𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑝𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠.
Our 𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑠 are skilled in educating what foods to eat at certain times of the day to fuel your brain, how to maintain a healthy body weight and considerations for shift workers.
Our 𝑝𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠 are skilled in educating worksites on well being within the workplace, the effect of drugs and alcohol on one’s ability to work, coping with stress and anxiety, managing conflict and maintaining a work-life balance.
Our 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑝𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠 educate on lifting techniques in the workplace, stretches and strength exercises to minimise the risk of workplace injury.
On top of this we offer skin checks from qualified 𝐺𝑃’𝑠, health assessments conducted by 𝑁𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑠 and Drug & Alcohol testing.
Get in contact with us to celebrate and support your tradies – workplacehealth@gmhg.com.au or 0456 387 569.
Summer & Melanomas

Summer & Melanomas

We’ve now reached Autumn in Australia and reflecting on all the fun we had with our friends and family over summer! Beach days, barbeques, music concerts and of course work – we’ve all been exposed to the sun over the past few months.

The sad truth is, ‘Every five hours, one Australian dies from melanoma’ – melanomamarch.org.au (2020).

A melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can occur inside the eye or in parts of the skin or body that have never been exposed to the sun – cancer.org.au (2019).

What to look out for on your skin:

According to the Cancer Council (2019), often melanomas have no symptoms, however, the first sign is generally a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot. These changes can include:

  • Colour: a mole may change in colour, have different colour shades or become blotchy;
  • Size: a mole may appear to get bigger;
  • Shape: a mole may have an irregular border or may increase in height;
  • Elevation: The mole may develop a raised area;
  • Itching or bleeding:

Workplace Skin Checks – we can help you check your employee’s skin health by offering efficient, thorough on-site skin checks and education provided by trusted professionals.

Whether your employees work indoors or outdoors, workplace skin checks are a vital part of any health and wellness program.

Causes of a melanoma:

According to Cancer Council (2019), melanoma risk is increased with exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other sources such as solariums, particularly episodes of sunburn (especially during childhood).

Melanoma risk is increased in people who have:

  • Unprotected sun exposure;
  • A history of childhood tanning and sunburn;
  • A pattern of short, intense periods of exposure to UV radiation;
  • Increased number of unusual moles;
  • Depressed immune systems;
  • A family history of melanoma in a first degree relative;
  • Fair skin, a tendency to burn rather than tan, freckles, light eye colour, light or red coloured hair;
  • Had a previous melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer;

Prevention:

How can your employees minimise their chances of obtaining a melanoma?

  • Wear SPF30+ sunscreen;
  • Avoid sunburn by minimising sun exposure when the UV Index exceeds 3 and especially in the middle of the day where UV levels are more intense;
  • Seek shade where possible;
  • Wear a hat that covers the head, neck and ears;
  • Wear sun protective clothing and close-fitting sunglasses;

(Cancer Council, 2019)

Diagnosis for a melanoma:

If your employee notes a suspicious spot or mole on their skin, our doctors may examine using a magnifying instrument, using the ABCDE method:

  • A – Asymmetry, irregular;
  • B – Border, uneven;
  • C – Colour;
  • D – Diameter (usually over 6mm);
  • E – Evolving (changing and growing);

If our doctor suspects a melanoma, your employee will be referred to their GP or otherwise they can visit our clinic for further testing.

What can you do to help reduce melanoma occurrence in Australia?

This month is ‘Melanoma March’, which is an annual campaign to raise awareness of skin health and prevention.

‘Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men and women, and the most common cancer affecting 15-39-year-olds.’ – melanomamarch.org.au (2019).

Recent advances in treatment developed by clinicians and researches have tripled the life expectancy for advanced melanoma patients. If you choose to donate, your contribution will go towards further research and investigations to decrease the likelihood of this killer disease.

You can donate at Melanoma March or get your team together for a lunchtime event at work to raise the funds and awareness to promote a sun-safe lifestyle – https://melanomamarch.org.au/cms/mm-at-work-school

What is Workplace Health and how can we help you?

What is Workplace Health and how can we help you?

‘Most of our waking hours are spent at work, which means the working environment can play a big part in our health and well-being’ – Health Direct (2018).

Workplace Health and Safety Victoria’s aim is to provide employers with services which encourage holistically a happy and healthy workplace setting, which in turns saves your business’ back pocket!  

What services can we provide your business?

  • Workplace Health Assessments;
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing;
  • Flu & Travel Vaccinations;
  • Workplace Health Education;
  • Equipment Hire;
  • Education;

‘Poor employee health is costing Australian businesses $7 billion annually’ – SmartCompany (2019).  

We believe that early intervention is the key to your happy workplace and loss of employer income due to ill-health.

What are the benefits of implementing workplace health within your business?

  • Reduced absenteeism;
  • Increased productivity;
  • Reduced staff turnover;
  • Improved staff morale;
  • Reduced insurance costs;
  • Reduced risk of fines and litigation;
  • A positive and caring image;

‘Most of our waking hours are spent at work, which means the working environment can play a big part in our health and well-being’ – Health Direct (2018).

Workplace Health and Safety Victoria’s aim is to provide employers with services which encourage holistically a happy and healthy workplace setting, which in turns saves your business’ back pocket!  

What services can we provide your business?

  • Workplace Health Assessments:
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing;
  • Flu & Travel Vaccinations;
  • Workplace Education;
  • Equipment Hire;
  • Education;

Workplace Health Assessments:
Workplace Health and Safety Victoria offer workplaces an array of services to maximise the health of your employees, minimising unnecessary costs to your business. Our clinical nurse consultant visits your workplace for your convenience. 

Pre-employment medical assessments are a workforce risk management tool used to assess an individual’s risk factors that may limit their ability to perform a job safely and effectively. Due to the extent of the tests required, we offer your employee to visit our clinic for a thorough assessment with our GP. Our pre-employment medicals are customised to suit the requirements of the job.


Our assessments can include:

  • Urine, Drug and Alcohol screening
  • Audiograms
  • Vision tests
  • Blood pressure
  • Full Spirometry (Lung function)
  • Body mass index
  • Urine analysis
  • Strength tests
  • Joint range of motion
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)


Optional Assessments:

  • Spinal Assessment
  • DorsaVi (Specific muscular skeletal testing)
  • Skin Checks
  • Functional Capacity Assessments
  • Chest X-ray
  • MRI

*A range of other tests can be included on request when required.

Drug & Alcohol Testing;

“Alcohol and drugs cost Australian workplaces an estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity.” – Alcohol and Drug Foundation (2017)

The use of drugs and alcohol can impact on workplaces in several ways, affecting relationships, safety and productivity:

  • Alcohol and drugs cost Australian workplaces an estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity;
  • Recent research has estimated that 2.5 million days are lost annually due to drinking and drug use, at a cost of more than $680 million;
  • 1 in 10 workers say they have been affected by a co-worker’s use of alcohol. For example, a reduced ability to do their own job, involvement in an accident or close-call, and having to work extra hours to cover for a co-worker; (Alcohol and Drug Foundation – 2017)

Impact of Drug and Alcohol Abuse:

According to NCADI statistics, alcohol and drug users:

  • Are far less productive;
  • Use three times as many sick days;
  • Are more likely to injure themselves or someone else;
  • Are five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim

In addition, to deaths and accidents, absenteeism and loss of production, other problems that alcohol and drug abuse can cause on the job include:

  • Tardiness/sleeping on the job;
  • Hangover or withdrawal affecting job performance;
  • Poor decision making;
  • Loss of efficiency;
  • Theft;
  • Lower morale of co-workers;
  • Increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers/supervisors or tasks;
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, interfering with attention and concentration;
  • Illegal activities at work including selling illicit drugs to other employees;
  • Higher turnover;
  • Disciplinary procedures;
    (Very Well Mind, 2020)

How can Workplace Health and Safety Victoria help your workplace?

  • On-site testing;
  • In clinic testing;
  • Pre-employment testing;
  • Training and education – A workplace drug testing program partly represents an employer’s effort to keep the environment at work safe for everyone;

Our accredited drug & alcohol testers can visit your workplace and conduct drug and alcohol testing or your staff can come to either of our conveniently located practices, Myers Street Family Medical Practice or The Cottage Medical Centre.  We use saliva and/or urine drug testing tools along with our state-of-the-art breathalysers.

All results that are non-negative are sent to the laboratory and verified by a second more specific test before it is considered a positive. Chain of Custody protocols are always strictly adhered to  and all information kept discreetly ensuring the privacy of employees and employers alike.

Education is an important part of drug and alcohol testing and we encourage all of our companies to be pro-active in this area so that everyone involved understands that this is a positive initiative that will benefit employees and employers.

Flu & Travel Vaccinations:

“On average, the flu causes an estimated 3,500 deaths in Australia each year”

health.qld.gov.au (2018)

What is influenza?

Influenza is a respiratory illness commonly known as ‘the flu’. While most people recover form the flu in about a week, sometimes the flu can lead to other serious health problems such as bronchitis or pneumonia and in some cases, can be deadly – health.qld.gov.au (2018).

What are an employee’s chances of getting the flu?

Each year, about 5-10% of people in Australian communities get the flu. Some years, it can be as high as 20%. This means, the chances of employees getting the flu is 1 in 5 – (NIB – 2019).

Signs and Symptoms of the flu:

  • Fever and chills;
  • Cough, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose;
  • Muscle aches, joint pains, headaches and fatigue;
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea;

It is important to seek immediate medical advice if the illness quickly becomes worse or if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing;
  • Chest pain;
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness;
  • Persistent vomiting;

Symptoms generally appear between two or four days after exposure.
(health.nsw.gov.au – 2019).

If an employee is sick with flu-like symptoms, they should stay at home until these symptoms have subsided.

What can employers do to avoid the flu?

  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated;
  • Take steps to minimise spread of infection by educating their staff of signs and symptoms;
  • The provision of cough and hand hygiene materials in the workplace such as antibacterial gel, tissues, etc;

(health.nsw.gov.au – 2019)

What can employees do to avoid the flu?

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet containing plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit;
  • Get the flu shot;
  • Aim for at least 7 hours per night;
  • Keep your distance if another employee comes to work with the flu;
  • Consult your manager if another employee comes to work with the flu;
  • Keep your workstation sanitised and practice good hygiene, especially after touching doorknobs, kitchen appliances, handrails and water fountains;

(EmploySure – 2019)

How does the flu shot work?

Australian flu vaccines expose the immune system to tiny amounts of the inactivated flu virus. The body then produces its own antibodies (which fight infections) and therefore, when the body is exposed to surface proteins of the flu, the person’s immune system will recognise these proteins and fight them.

Workplace Health and Safety Victoria are also able to provide your employees with travel vaccines.

Workplace Health Education:

We believe that they key to a happy and healthy workplace is prevention.

We provide workplaces health education sessions for the following but not excluded to:

  • Ergonomics;
  • Healthy diet and exercise;
  • The effects of drugs and alcohol on the body and it’s performance;
  • Health awareness including heart health, ovarian cancer, bowel cancer awareness or recommendations by you;
  • Preventing and managing health conditions;
  • Mental Health Awareness and managing;
  • Managing workplace stress;
  • Skin health awareness;
  • Diabetes awareness and management;

Please get in touch if you have a specific topic you would like us to educate your employees on.

Equipment Hire:

Through our sister-company ’30 Minute Fitness’, we hire out the following fitness equipment to encourage your employees to exercise for 30 minutes per day:

  • Treadmills;
  • Exercise Bicycles;
  • Elliptical cross trainers;