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Coroner calls for temperature threshold to prevent heat stress

worker with large crane site and sunset background

A coroner has urged the construction industry to set a temperature threshold for employees working outdoors in extreme heat to prevent heat-related deaths.

The recommendation came as part of the coroner’s ruling into the death of 38-year-old construction worker Glenn Newport.

Mr Newport died in an ambulance after collapsing on his work site near Roma in 2013.  He had been employed by McDonnell Dowell, who were Santos contractors for the LNG project.

Coroner John Hutton said he was shocked to learn there was no industry standard in relation to heat management in workers.

“I was somewhat startled to learn that there is in effect no industry standard or ‘best practice’ in relation to the management of heat in the heavy construction industry,” the coroner said, according to ABC.

“Mr Newport was an extremely muscular and physically fit man.

“Even among such labourers, he was regarded as particularly strong, and was nicknamed ‘Grievous’ in reference to a robotic character from the Star Wars movies, who was built to resemble a particularly well-muscled human.”

Mr Hutton wants an industry wide code of practice established, including an agreed temperature threshold beyond which workers must stop, and provisions set for work to be completed during night when it is cooler.

McConnell Dowell said in a statement that they endorse the coroner’s recommendation to avoid a similar tragic death occurring,” the statement said.

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