WA employers urged to implement cyclone safety plans

Thursday, 29 February, 2024

WA employers urged to implement cyclone safety plans

After ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln swept across Australia’s north-west coast, businesses in the affected area were reminded to ensure they have established cyclone contingency plans. Acting WorkSafe Commissioner Sally North said it is crucial for everyone on sea and land to have safe systems of work in place and operating, in the event of a cyclone.

North added that Western Australia has experienced numerous cyclones that have caused significant damage and suffering with 11 WA workers losing their lives as a result of cyclones over the past 29 years.

“Under workplace safety and health laws, employers must have adequate plans in place and must provide employees with appropriate training to protect everyone in the workplace when a cyclone threatens. The average number of tropical cyclones per season is nine to eleven, and typically around four will cross the coast. It’s extremely important that everyone in a workplace — 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 from several companies where a coordinated plan is vital,” North said.

The Department of Transport has established cyclone contingency plans for the fishing, charter and recreational sectors, tailored for regional boat harbours along the WA coast. Fishing vessels are also advised to keep a list of sheltered anchorages and have information on how to use them, along with a specific action plan for each vessel depending on the distance from the cyclone and safe havens.

“Employers should not leave anything to chance when a cyclone is threatening and must make sure safe work practices are in place well before a cyclone is in their vicinity. Whether the workplace is a fishing vessel or in a land-based location, everyone should be trained in the cyclone contingency plan and follow all instructions given when a cyclone is approaching,” North said.

More information about cyclone contingency plans can be obtained by calling WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or visiting: www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

Image credit: iStock.com/chameleonseye

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