The following article published by The Morning Bulletin details one regional tradie’s mission to prioritize health this national health month.
TRADIES’ health will be under the national spotlight next month with a major focus on hearing after tradespeople recorded the highest level of deafness in Australia.
Almost half of people employed in the Central Highlands work as labourers, tradespeople, machine operators or transport workers, meaning 6447 tradies could be exposed to harmful noises on a daily basis.
Supervisor of the HEME boilermakers’ bay Cody Holzwart has been in the role for two years, working in the boiling industry for just over four years.
Mr Holzwart, who enjoys his work as a boilermaker in Emerald, said it was important to look after yourself and put your safety first.
Working daily in hot environments with equipment that could easily burn the skin, he said you must always wear your personal protective equipment.
“Before you start a job make sure you have your PPE on, even if you are not doing something loud or dangerous, someone near you could be,” he said. “It won’t take long before you lose your hearing without wearing earplugs, and with your skin you only need five to 10 minutes of welding and you’re red and peeling.
“I can’t imagine that’s any good for you.”
To protect his hearing, Mr Holzwart puts in earplugs as soon as he gets to work.
To protect his skin, he said “you can’t beat sunscreen”.
However, in his line of work, he said protecting his eyes was paramount.
“Whenever you are in the workshop you must have glasses on and when you are welding you must have your helmet on,” he said.
“Also, when you are grinding, be mindful of other people. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
Specsavers Emerald audiologist Eden Delamain is on a mission to ensure all tradies look after their hearing health during this year’s Tradies’ National Health Month.
Mr Delamain said it was vital hearing health became a priority for tradies and those working in noisy environments to prevent premature hearing loss.
“It’s all too often retired tradies who present to me with compromised hearing as a result of prolonged work in noisy environments, without hearing protection,” he said.
“As well as having your hearing checked every two years, there are a number of preventative measures tradies can take to protect their hearing.”
He recommended everyone, particularly tradies, take the following preventative measures.
“When exposed to loud noise, insist on wearing personal hearing protection such as earplugs, ear muffs or both, remembering that everyday equipment, such as lawnmowers and power tools may be loud enough to impact your hearing,” he said.
“Reduce the number of different noises at any one time. Simultaneous conversations, working power tools, as well as a loud radio can place undue strain on your ears.
“Have a conversation with your manager at work if noise is a concern.
“A quick test you can do to assess the noise in your workplace is the ‘one metre rule’. If you need to raise your voice to talk to someone about one metre away, you can assume the sound level is likely to be hazardous to hearing.”