WA employers urged to review plans as cyclone season nears

Thursday, 28 January, 2021

WA employers urged to review plans as cyclone season nears

With the formation of the season’s first cyclone (TC Lucas) of the North-West coast, WorkSafe WA has reminded businesses throughout the state to ensure that contingency plans have been established and are in operation. WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said employers must have adequate plans in place and must provide employees with adequate training to protect everyone in the workplace in the event of a cyclone.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast an average to above average number of tropical cyclones in the waters off the North-West coast this season. The average number of cyclones per season is five. BoM has forecast a likelihood of at least two coastal impacts, with a significant risk of at least one severe impact,” Kavanagh said.

Western Australia has experienced numerous cyclones that have caused significant damage and suffering, such as Cyclone George in 2007.

“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,” Kavanagh said.

Fishing vessels must keep a list of sheltered anchorages, with 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.

The Department of Transport has established cyclone contingency plans for the fishing, charter and recreational sectors, with plans for regional boat harbours at Point Samson (Johns Creek), Onslow (Beadon Creek), Exmouth, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Denham.

Kavanagh has urged employers not to leave anything to chance when a cyclone is threatening, and to ensure that safe work practices are in place to prevent injury and harm.

“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,” Kavanagh said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/DiscoDancer

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