WorkSafe has reminded all businesses in Western Australia to be prepared for cyclone season. Businesses throughout the North-West of the state have been urged by authorities to have a contingency plan in place in case their area is hit by a cyclone.
According to Acting Executive Director of WorkSafe Ian Munns, it is vital that all people are aware of what to do when there is a cyclone in the area especially now that the state’s cyclone season has started. Businesses need to develop contingency plans and ensure that they are in operation in case of an emergency.
An article on SafetyCulture.com.au quoted Mr Munns who said that everyone on both land and sea need to know what to do when there is a cyclone in the area. He explained that as November is officially the beginning of cyclone season, employers need to have plans in place to deal with cyclones so that workers aren’t placed in unnecessary danger. Mr Munns explained:
“The cyclone season officially began on November 1, and under workplace safety and health laws, employers must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone,” Mr Munns said.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a below-average number of tropical cyclones in the waters off the North-West coast this season. The Bureau has said around two coastal impacts can be expected, with a significant risk of one of those being severe.
Mr Munns also stated that it only takes one cyclone to cause significant harm and destruction. Mr Munns reminded people of Cyclone George which took place in 2007 and the tragic circumstances that surrounded that cyclone. Mr Munns went on to explain why a cyclone contingency plan is so vital because there are a great deal of people who may be put at risk in the area. He explained:
“It’s extremely important that everyone on a worksite – regardless of their employer – knows exactly what he or she needs to do in the event of a cyclone threat. This is particularly important on sites with employees of several companies where coordinated plans must be in place.”
The Department of Transport has prepared a cyclone contingency plan for the fishing, charter and recreational sectors for regional boat harbours in particular at Point Samson (Johns Creek), Onslow, Beadon Creek, Exmouth, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Denham but employers in other sectors also need to be prepared and not leave anything to chance. A cyclone can be extremely life threatening and everyone in their vicinity needs to be prepared. Mr Munns said they need to have safe work practices in place well before a cyclone arrives.
Even workers on construction sites need to be trained on what to do if a cyclone threatens as well as be prepared for any other natural disaster that may occur. Employers need to provide workers with the necessary training to ensure that they know what to do. Mr Munn went on to explain:
“Everyone in the workplace – whether a fishing vessel or any other workplace – should be trained in the cyclone contingency plan and follow all instructions given when a cyclone is approaching.”