Report claims electricians should take more care of themselves

Bahco, the hand tool manufacturer, has revealed in a new survey that electricians are the least likely trade to seek medical advice or pain relief due to a work-related injury.

Only 20% of electricians have either sought medical advice or took medication to help alleviate aches and pains caused by on-site work. Nearly half (40%) carried on working regardless of the pain, potentially causing more damage. In contrast over half (53%) of builders took pain relief or sought medical advice to deal with similar symptoms.

The most common injuries experienced by electricians, according to the Bahco survey, are arm, hand, wrist or finger pain as well as numbness or tingling in the fingers.

The impact of these symptoms can have a profound affect on electricians’ working capabilities with 20% claiming that injury forced them into a reduced working day. However electricians and plumbers were the only trade professionals surveyed who have not experienced temporary or permanent loss of earnings due to a work related injury.

The majority (90%) of electricians blame the use of inappropriate tools as the biggest factor contributing to on-site injuries, yet surprisingly not one electrician admitted changing their tools to try and alleviate pain!

Kevin Parkes, customer care centre manager at Bahco, says: “These results show that having tools that are designed to help maintain comfort, speed and quality, could make all the difference to electricians’ health and wellbeing. The cost of avoiding injury is often far less than dealing with the consequences.”

Injury avoidance is an important part of working life. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified over 22 muscular/nervous injuries resulting from the long-term use of hand tools (not including accidents) usually grouped under the term repetitive strain or repetitive stress injury (RSI). It is usually caused by a mixture of bad ergonomics and repetitive motion.

Bahco aims to reduce the incidence of these problems through its Ergo 11-point design programme to make tools easier, more efficient and even safer to use.

Half (50%) of electricians associated the Bahco name with good ergonomic design.

Kevin Parkes adds: "To keep up with the rest of the industry, electricians need to place more of an emphasis health and safety and start taking care of number one!"