The Block’s Scott Cam opens up about his retirement plans

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Scott Cam plans to be hammering away on building sites for decades to come despite a serious injury almost ending his career.

The veteran tradie has a 40-year career behind him and has hosted The Block for the past 16 years – with no desire to stop any time soon.

‘I’m 60 this year and I’m physically fit, I’m doing a renovation of my home now because of the mould from all the rain,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Scott Cam (pictured) plans to be hammering away on building sites for decades to come despite a serious injury almost ending his career

Scott Cam (pictured) plans to be hammering away on building sites for decades to come despite a serious injury almost ending his career

‘I’ve got at least another decade on the tools. I told my wife recently, we’ve got 20 years of good health left so from January 1, let’s start a 20-year odyssey of living life.¬†

‘I’ll keep going til I can’t anymore because I love it. I reckon I can do 20 years on the tools, and I’ll pull up when my body tells me to.’

Cam was rushed to hospital in 2020 after his neck ‘gave way’ after decades of wear and tear with a disc ‘blow out’ that crushed a major nerve.

‘When I hurt my neck, I thought, “Is that my working life over?”, and it was a real mental strain thinking I may not be able to work again, it was really upsetting.¬†‘At 57 I still had plenty of life left in me,’ he said.

'I told my wife recently, we've got 20 years of good health left so from January 1, let's start a 20-year odyssey of living life,' Scott told Daily Mail Australia

'I told my wife recently, we've got 20 years of good health left so from January 1, let's start a 20-year odyssey of living life,' Scott told Daily Mail Australia

‘I told my wife recently, we’ve got 20 years of good health left so from January 1, let’s start a 20-year odyssey of living life,’ Scott told Daily Mail Australia

‘I wasn’t even allowed to lift 1kg for eight weeks after the operation, I was lucky a schooner (of beer) only weighs 750g, I’d have been in real trouble.¬†

‘So I’ve seen first hand when an injury can affect a young guy or girl who wants to be physically active (not just at work).’¬†

After the three-hour emergency surgery, Cam described the pain as a ’12 out of 10′, both in his neck and his arm where the nerve was hit.

‘I said to my wife, “You’re going to have to call an ambulance because I’m going to pass out here.” It’s like my arm was on fire. I couldn’t get rid of it,’ he said at the time.¬†

He said the injury should be a wake up call for young tradies that they needed to look after themselves so they didn’t have a poor quality of life decades later.

‘Don’t try to be a hero – as we all were – and carry six sticks of timber. Carry four and just look after your body, and then you can keep working till you’re 60,’ he said.¬†

Cam was rushed to hospital in 2020 after his neck 'gave way' after decades of wear and tear with a disc 'blow out' that crushed a major nerve (pictured on The Block)

Cam was rushed to hospital in 2020 after his neck 'gave way' after decades of wear and tear with a disc 'blow out' that crushed a major nerve (pictured on The Block)

Cam was rushed to hospital in 2020 after his neck ‘gave way’ after decades of wear and tear with a disc ‘blow out’ that crushed a major nerve (pictured on The Block)¬†

Young tradies impaled on steel bars, broken bones, severed fingers, and his own brother’s bicep run through by a huge stray nail are just some of the ‘terrible’ injuries he’s seen on building sites.

Cam said building sites were far safer today than earlier in his career, and the home improvement series hadn’t had a serious injury in its 16-year history.

‘Construction is quite a dangerous job, 100 years ago people were dying every day and that’s slowly improved,’ he said.

Cam, 59, said building sites were far safer today than earlier in his career (pictured) when workers suffered many more injuries - including 'terrible' ones he witnessed

Cam, 59, said building sites were far safer today than earlier in his career (pictured) when workers suffered many more injuries - including 'terrible' ones he witnessed

Cam, 59, said building sites were far safer today than earlier in his career (pictured) when workers suffered many more injuries – including ‘terrible’ ones he witnessed

Cam said The Block hadn't had a serious injury to a contestant or one of hundreds of tradies working alongside them in its 16-year history

Cam said The Block hadn't had a serious injury to a contestant or one of hundreds of tradies working alongside them in its 16-year history

Cam said The Block¬†hadn’t had a serious injury to a contestant or one of hundreds of tradies working alongside them in its 16-year history

The veteran tradie said workers like him were ‘a bull at the gate’ and safety wasn’t as much of an issue when he was a young carpenter.

‘There’s a photo of me on a slate roof five floors up on a block of units in Stanmore – I was there for two weeks, no harnesses, no nothing,’ he said.

‘If I slipped I was dead for sure, there was a concrete driveway below.

‘It wasn’t that people didn’t care, but there was a job to be done and you just got on with it.’

Cam’s worst accident was cutting off the top of his finger with a bandsaw, but it was able to be sewn back on again – his brother wasn’t so lucky and lost his for good.

‘I’m lucky in that I’ve never seen anyone die or break their back, but I’ve seen some serious injuries like rebars going through people when they fell over, terrible things,’ he said.

‘I’ve seen plenty of fingers go missing, mine included, and¬†my brother had a six-inch nail through his bicep from a swinging bit of timber. I had to pull it out too.’

Cam highlighted this photo of him working for two weeks on a slate roof five floors up on a block of units in Stanmore with no harness - with certain death if he slipped

Cam highlighted this photo of him working for two weeks on a slate roof five floors up on a block of units in Stanmore with no harness - with certain death if he slipped

Cam highlighted this photo of him working for two weeks on a slate roof five floors up on a block of units in Stanmore with no harness – with certain death if he slipped

Cam said apprentices and young tradies were the most accident prone as they tended to ‘go too hard’ without the street smarts to avoid danger.

‘Most of your accidents are in the first 10 years of your career, then you get wise. I’ve got 100 stitches on my body but I haven’t had one for years,’ he said.

‘A young apprentice goes hard because he wants to impress the boss. You’ve got to be careful as a boss and look out for them – mine aren’t allowed to use power tools for the first year.¬†

‘I don’t want them to go home to their mum and dad missing a finger, that would be a tragedy.’

Cam's worst accident was cutting off the top of his finger with a bandsaw, but it was able to be sewn back on again - his brother wasn't so lucky and lost his for good

Cam's worst accident was cutting off the top of his finger with a bandsaw, but it was able to be sewn back on again - his brother wasn't so lucky and lost his for good

Cam’s worst accident was cutting off the top of his finger with a bandsaw, but it was able to be sewn back on again – his brother wasn’t so lucky and lost his for good

Once he was seasoned enough to start his own business, Cam realised workers needed better training and safety standards.

‘I still remember a tragic case in western Sydney back in 2009 when a 19-year-old collapsed and died with heat stroke after installing insulation. It shook me – he hadn’t had any training at all,’ he said.

Cam is proud of The Block’s excellent safety record, where he said injuries were limited to a few stitches, bumps, and bruises.

The most serious incident was in 2020 when a contestant slipped and fell from a perilous surface after heavy rain.

A source at the time said they tried to carry on working but collapsed and couldn’t move until they were rushed to hospital. They later recovered without serious injury.

Cam credits the show’s safety record to thorough procedures, and more recently the use of iAuditor by Australian firm SafetyCulture.

The mobile phone app allows workers to quickly photograph hazards they spot and alert everyone on site to steer clear until they are fixed.

‘We’ve got 200 people on site and we’re really moving at pace and the amazing thing is we didn’t have any injuries over three months in muddy conditions because everyone was aware of what was around them,’ he said.

‘On a big site you couldn’t do it manually, there’s just too many people but everyone has a phone on them then they know what’s going on – it’s the only way to keep a site like ours safe.

Veteran tradie Cam said workers like him were 'a bull at the gate' and safety wasn't as much of an issue when he was a young carpenter

Veteran tradie Cam said workers like him were 'a bull at the gate' and safety wasn't as much of an issue when he was a young carpenter

Veteran tradie Cam said workers like him were ‘a bull at the gate’ and safety wasn’t as much of an issue when he was a young carpenter

‘We’re really conscious because some of them are non-professionals, we watch them and if they’re doing something wrong we make sure they don’t injure themselves.’

Cam said Australian building site safety standards were now largely up to scratch, but there were plenty of things bosses and workers could do to improve it.

‘These days there’s a lot of checks and procedures and if the boss says to do something unsafe workers will say no, but in the old days they would,’ he said.

‘There’s always going to be accidents but safety is paramount now, no one wants to see a worker come to work and not go home.

‘Get everyone to do a full safety check of the site every day, make sure there’s no nail sticking out or leads running through puddles or a rail off a scaffold.¬†

‘If you see something, ask “Who did this?” and they’ll own up and get embarrassed and not do it again.’

Cam is proud of The Block's excellent safety record, where he said injuries were limited to a few stitches, bumps, and bruises (pictured with co-host Shelley Craft)

Cam is proud of The Block's excellent safety record, where he said injuries were limited to a few stitches, bumps, and bruises (pictured with co-host Shelley Craft)

Cam is proud of The Block’s excellent safety record, where he said injuries were limited to a few stitches, bumps, and bruises (pictured with co-host Shelley Craft)