69 - Spider Bites

Date: 14th March 2017

Redback Spiders nest in dry, sheltered and dark places often around buildings.

Recently an apprentice suffered a severe reaction to what is believed to be a Redback spider. The apprentice was working in the roof space of an old building. Due to the type of work he was not wearing gloves. While accessing a junction box he felt a sharp pain to one of his exposed fingers. Although the apprentice did not identify what had caused the pain a later investigation discovered a very large Redback spider lurking in that location. There are various factors that determine an individual’s reaction to a Redback spider’s bite. In his case the reaction was severe and lasted over several days.

Redback spiders are most prevalent over the summer months. Their venom works very slowly and if untreated the symptoms worsen over a 24 hour period and may take weeks or months to heal.

Bite symptoms include:

• Intense localised pain, with swelling and sweating starting about five minutes after the bite

• Pain and swelling may be experienced over the body after about half an hour

• Headache, nausea and vomiting may occur after one hour – profuse sweating is common


First Aid recommended:

• Keep calm

• Apply ice pack (such as a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) to minimise pain and swelling

• Seek medical aid – anti-venin could be administered in severe situations

Do not use a tourniquet or restrictive bandage, or excise or incise the bite.

Don’t forget to report incident to your Field Officer ASAP


For further information regarding this Safety Alert, please contact the NECA OSH team on 6241 6100