07:01 am, Friday 29 October, 2010
WorkSafe WA is reminding businesses throughout the state’s north-west to ensure emergency management plans are established with the onset of the cyclone season.
WorkSafe Commissioner Nina Lyhne said it is crucial for everyone, whether on sea on or land, to know what to do when there was a cyclone hits the area.
“The cyclone season officially begins on November 1, and under WA’s occupational safety and health laws, employers must have adequate plans and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone,” she said.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a higher than normal risk of a cyclone before this Christmas, and a greater number of cyclones in the waters off the North-West coast this season.
“The Bureau has said that warmer sea surface temperatures this year will increase the risk of early season cyclones and boost the number of cyclones we are likely to see this season.
“The tragic circumstances surrounding Cyclone George in 2007 demonstrated that it only takes one cyclone to cause significant damage and suffering.
“WorkSafe has for many years issued reminders to the fishing industry to ensure contingency plans are in place, but the Cyclone George experience prompted the reminder to be extended to land areas as well.
“The North-West of WA continues to experience a high level of activity and there are a huge number of workers in the area, including workplaces with employees of several companies all working on the same site.
“It is particularly important that emergency evacuation plans are coordinated so every worker – regardless of their employer – knows exactly what he or she needs to do in the event of a cyclone threat.”
Fishing vessels must keep a list of sheltered anchorages. They must also have a specific action plan depending on the distance from the cyclone and safe havens.
According to Worksafe, the Department of Transport has established cyclone contingency plans at Point Sampson (Johns Creek), Onslow (Beadon Creek), Shark Bay (Denham), Exmouth, Carnarvon and Coral Bay.
Ms Lyhne said employers should not leave anything to chance by ensuring safe work procedures are in place well before a cyclone hits.
“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.”
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