Working in intense heat kills FIFO worker

A QUEENSLAND coroner says the tragic death of a FIFO worker, who died while working on a GLNG construction project near Roma in 2013, highlighted deficiencies in the way the heavy construction industry managed working in the heat.

Glenn Richard Newport, 38, died on January 13, 2013 after working in at least 40-degree heat at the Roma 2 GLNG construction project.

He was a fly-in fly-out concreter for contracting company McConnell Dowell.

Following an inquest held last year, Queensland Coroner John Hutton delivered his findings on Wednesday and said Mr Newport - whose nickname was "Grievous" based on the Star Wars character - died of a heart attack, precipitated by dilutional hyponatremia from exposure to heat at work.

After working for several hours in 2013, Mr Newport started feeling unwell and was taken back to a medical clinic at the project's camp.

Mr Hutton said the medical officers tried to contact a supporting doctor but were unsuccessful.

After being treated, Mr Newport was sent back to his accommodation.

Mr Hutton said if Mr Newport had been taken to Roma Hospital, it would have likely saved his life.

He said the failure to contact a doctor was "not a lapse in protocol" but "it was indeed a fatal mistake".

After leaving the medical clinic, Mr Newport went back to his accommodation. Later that night a colleague visited him and found him in a bad state - he had fallen and was incoherent.

An ambulance was called and he died on the way to the hospital.

Experts said Mr Newport had died from hyponatremia, which can be seen in marathon runners or those who work in high temperature environments, and results in "free water" in the body and causes organs to swell.

During the inquest, Mr Newport's family submitted they had concerns about the company's safety procedures but McConnell Dowell argued they had adequate policies and procedures in place.

Mr Hutton said McConnell Dowell's policies could have been better but said the incident could have happened at a number of other work sites.

He recommended the heavy construction industry develop a code of practice to deal with heat injuries at work, include an ultimate cut-off temperature for when work should stop and create provisions for night work when heat is expected to be dangerous. - ARM NEWSDESK

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