News24

Heatwave claims labourer, 5 in hospital

2012-01-18 08:20

Cape Town – The heatwave gripping the Western Cape over the past few days on Tuesday claimed a life.

A labourer on the building site of a new industrial development, Zandwyk in Suider-Paarl, died on Tuesday afternoon, presumably due to heat exhaustion. Another five labourers from the same building site were admitted to Paarl hospital.

The temperature in the Boland on Tuesday rose to the low 40s.

Provincial police spokesperson warrant officer November Filander confirmed the incident. He said ER ambulance services were called at about 12:45 but the first labourer, a 55-year-old man from Moorreesburg was found dead on the scene upon their arrival.

 "No additional information is currently available. Police will conduct an inquest," said Filander.

In towns like Paarl, Vredendal, Clanwilliam and Tulbagh, the mercury rose to 38°C and high into the 40s.

In and around Cape Town it was a "cooler" 30°C to 35°C.

The maximum temperature in George was 31°C on Tuesday. By Friday it is expected to drop to 24°C and rain has been forecast.

The Western Cape would remain hot until Thursday and relief would come only on Friday, said weather forecaster Elke Brouwers from the South African Weather Office.

Meanwhile the Cape of Good Hope SPCA said it had to rescue several dogs after owners tied them up in the searing heat, locked them in cars or left them without water.

The SPCA received at least 20 calls from people who were very worried about dogs, said SPCA spokesperson Lamees Martin.

Reporters spoke to teachers who said the heat did not bother the little ones in Grade 1.

Martha Veldsman from De Tyger Primary School in Parow said if they didn’t stop them, the children would keep on jumping on the trampoline.

They tried to stop them from being too active during class time.

Elaine Visser, Grade 1 teacher at Riebeeckstrand Primary School in Melkbosstrand let children lie down on the cool tiles at times during the day, gave them ice-cold water and wiped their faces every now and then.

Merlin Luke of Panorama Primary School said children could keep a bottle of water with them during class.

 

 

Comments
  • Haveyoursay - 2012-01-18 08:54

    That's tragic. We live in Porterville where the temp was 45. We got a portable air-con which was a godsend.

  • jackivdm - 2012-01-18 09:02

    Tragic and could have been prevented, however, the employer probably did nothing illegal. South Africa really should get legislation that stipulates what the maximum temperature is that people are allowed to work - especially in the sun. Most other countries have such legislation. At the moment we only have recommendations that advises employers to tell their workers to drink more water when temperature goes above 30, and to provide prompt medical attention to workers should they suffer from heat stroke. Hopefully this man did not die in vain!

  • Ashley - 2012-01-18 09:18

    Personally coming from the building industry, the employer doesn't care if it is hot outside, they want production and have deadlines. its up to the individuals to keep themselves hydrated and if not feeling well to go to the site first aider or have a rest. At the end of the day, the Employer is responsible.

  • michelle.e.magson - 2012-01-18 09:30

    Should the contractor not have seen to it that these workers were properly hydrated, and perhaps limit their exertion?

      Martin - 2012-01-18 09:49

      Also, he should ensure that they go to the bathroom so they don't develop stomach issues and that they eat healthy.

      Bubba - 2012-01-18 09:53

      And practice safe sex.

      ian.rundle1 - 2012-01-18 09:59

      At what time is a person responsibel for themselves? All this blame throwing is ridiculous

  • Jeffrey - 2012-01-18 09:37

    Possib;y the consructor or someone in charge is bad. no one will tell, employer aare bad ask me. Labour officials are just akward swimmers. give them a bribe you aare a good employer

      Martin - 2012-01-18 09:51

      You're funny. I don't understand what you're saying.

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-18 10:09

      yup same here...

  • henrycharlesmuller - 2012-01-18 09:48

    If Paarl was in the low 40's ... Wellington would have been in the HIGH 40's !!! Funny how they always neglect mentioning the temperature in Hellington!

      nicolettewill - 2012-01-18 10:28

      42?C in the shade late afternoon on Monday! "Hellington" is definitely living up to its name! :)

  • peetenchrista - 2012-01-18 09:51

    Belet skole om die kinders atletiek en ander sport soorte in die son te oefen, tydens hittegolwe!! Dit is so gevaarlik!!! Ek weet van kinders in grd. 1, in Oudtshoorn, wat in die hitte moet atletiek oefen.

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-18 10:10

      dit maak hulle "tough" tannie - speel net.

      TJ - 2012-01-18 12:18

      It's been VERY hot here where we live as well and my son's school is still continuing with their sports and practicing for their sports day in February, regardless of the heat. It is a primary and high school and these kids are still supposed to participate, no matter what the temperature. I cannot understand why so many schools have their sports days so close to the beginning of the year and when it is at it's hottest. Why not wait until around May when it has cooled down a bit. Surely then they would have better results, etc.

      Jana - 2012-01-18 14:58

      Dit is jammer as mense kommentaar lewer oor 'n onderwerp en nie genoeg weet van die onderwerp nie. Die skole in Oudtshoorn is baie sensitief teenoor die kinders t.o.v die weer. Hulle sal nooit toelaat dat 'n kind in 'n hitte golf oefen nie!!!! Die kinders het wel van 5-6 geoefen en daar het ook 'n paar druppels geval. Daar was nie eers sweet op my gr1 kind se voorkop nie. Daar is reeds al twee oefen sessies uitgesel a.g.v die hitte. Mense wil te maklik goed kwyt raak. Onthou daar is skole en kinders wat deur sulke stelling geoordeel word.

  • ian.rundle1 - 2012-01-18 09:58

    I have worked out in +40 degree temperatures and LOTS of people do so all the time - yes it is hot BUT it is not the end of the world.

      jowza1 - 2012-01-18 10:10

      we dont want to know about your drinking problem,newsreader

      Newsreader - 2012-01-18 10:21

      Its not a problem... I drink every single day and I am still not an alcoholic!

      Sam - 2012-01-18 11:09

      Morons never stop surprise me, look in UPINGTON people are used to 40 degrees, but in Bloem people were having a problem with 35 degrees during the Century celebrations, wanna know why.... BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT USED TO IT FOOL!!!!!

      Jo-Lize Jubelius - 2012-01-18 17:37

      Ian, clearly these temperatures were the end of the world to this man since he is no longer in it. Please keep in mind that not all people do well in heat due to physiological differences (eg older people and those with certain chronic illnesses to name only two). He may have had no access to water or shade, and he was doing hard labour. My condolences to this man's family.

  • nicolettewill - 2012-01-18 10:33

    I think one of the main issues here is that a lot of these workers don't know what their rights are regarding seeking medical attention, taking a short break to drink water etc.. I assume there are employers out there who don't give these options freely and therefore the employees don't want to risk getting into trouble so they carry on working. Hopefully something positive can come from this and workers can be made aware of what is allowed.

      Ashley - 2012-01-18 10:42

      In the last few years, health and safety has become a priority within the Building sector. Every morning, there are meetings held on site to discuss the day, site Safety, including weather, preventive measures, etc.

      nicolettewill - 2012-01-18 11:54

      Good to hear - hopefully they can reiterate the importance of rehydration!

  • Ruan - 2012-01-18 12:36

    I am a SHE officer on a very big construction site and I agree that even if a safety officer stops the work the client or employer will keep on pushing the job in most cases no matter what the outcome. However I dont blame this on the greedy employers, I blame it on the pathetic government who knows better but who will not set a standerd of implementation. There are too many grey areas in our legislation that must be ruled out. Hopefully that poor man did not die in vane, and hopefully we will get more court cases that will rule out these grey areas. A clear limmit should be set for when to stop work.

  • Ruan - 2012-01-18 12:38

    I am a SHE officer on a very big construction site and I agree that even if a safety officer stops the work the client or employer will keep on pushing the job in most cases no matter what the outcome. However I dont blame this on the greedy employers, I blame it on the pathetic government who knows better but who will not set a standerd of implementation. There are too many grey areas in our legislation that must be ruled out. Hopefully that poor man did not die in vane, and hopefully we will get more court cases that will rule out these grey areas. A clear limmit should be set for when to stop work.

  • Quintus - 2012-01-18 13:16

    thats a terrible way to go!!

  • Tina - 2012-01-19 16:11

    I think it is both the employee and employers responsibility. As an employer it is the responsibility to make available water at all times most important in high heat conditions. If those workers died from lack of water which it sounds like they have. I say the employer is responsible because he neglected to maintain healthy working conditions he abused his workers and denied them a basic life need.

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