NT apprentice hospitalised in the season’s first heatwave

By Jarrod
3 Min Read

A young apprentice has been declared the first victim of the heatwave season after being hospitalised and diagnosed with heat stroke.

After spending a full day working on a roof in rural Darwin in early October, the 17-year-old tradie was seen acting in an “erratic” manner and making errors on site. 

The apprentice was told to see a doctor over the weekend, after which he was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with heat stroke. 

The incident came only four days after the Bureau of Meteorology issued a heatwave warning to the public as extreme heatwave conditions were forecasted for the following days in the area.

According to the Bureau, Darwin’s rural communities recorded an average temp above 38.5°C for 16 of the last 22 days – the most for October and November since 2019.

While records only go back to 1994, the Bureau says October 2023 was the hottest since 2003.

NT WorkSafe said the human body needs to maintain around 37°C and that working under the sun can be dangerous when body temperature increases.

Two days after the apprentice’s heat stroke, a 45-year-old seasonal worker from the Pacific Islands collapsed while picking mangoes in another Darwin rural area. The worker was treated for dehydration in hospital.

NT WorkSafe is urging workers and businesses to follow all the necessary precautions when working in the heat this season.

Here’s how you can beat the heat

According to the safety regulators website, tradies trapped in the sun have a major risk of developing a number of illnesses, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes – which could lead to permanent disability or death if not treated immediately.

In order to beat the heat, NT WorkSafe recommends that workers minimise their exposure to the rising temperature by modifying their workload. This may include:

  • Rescheduling work so the hot tasks are performed during the cooler part of the day
  • Doing the work at a different location
  • Wearing light clothing that still provides adequate protection
  • Reducing the time spent doing hot tasks (e.g. job rotation)
  • Arranging for more workers to do the job
  • Providing extra rest breaks in a cool area
  • Using mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion

Tradies Looking for more information can also find a guide for managing the heat this season on the SafeWork Australia website

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By Jarrod
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.

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