PPE the focus as Tradies National Health Month begins

PPE the focus as Tradies National Health Month begins

National optometry group Specsavers, in partnership with the Cancer Council, has launched a new campaign advocating for the eye, ear and respiratory safety of tradespeople during Tradies National Health Month. The campaign comes on the back of new research that shows almost half of Australian tradespeople, labourers and DIY renovators don’t use the appropriate personal protective equipment when undertaking work.

The research was commissioned by Specsavers Australia and focused on technicians, labourers and machinery operators working in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder shire. Local Specsavers optometrist, Craig Elkenhans, spoke to the Kalgoorlie Miner and said that many of the eye injuries he sees in patients were avoidable with the use of appropriate PPE.

“When you see the end results of eye injuries, you wish you could prevent this from happening in the first place because it can have real effects on people’s eyes,” he said.

“You want to prevent these injuries because a one-minute lapse in concentration can end up having lifelong problems, so we encourage people to think about safety glasses.”

He explained that the injuries he saw in his practice were often locals that had suffered an injury while completing repairs around the home. This correlates with the research done by Specsavers, which reported that 39 per cent of surveyed participants who complete home repairs admitted to not wearing hearing and or eye protection for the activities.

At the same time, the Cancer Council is urging people to be aware of crystalline silica dust and the associated safety risks. Cancer Council WA Goldfields regional education officer Rachel Jolly said that the start of Tradies National Health Month was a good reminder to ensure adequate respiratory protection. 

“Breathing in silica dust can cause irreparable damage to the lungs, resulting in lung cancer, silicosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” she said.

“This means tradies in industries such as mining, quarrying, tunnelling, construction, manufacturing, stonemasonry, and demolition are potentially at risk of developing dust-related diseases, including lung cancer.”

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