Cyclone contingency plans should be in place
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WA's cyclone season will soon begin, and businesses throughout the North-West of the State have been reminded to ensure contingency plans are established and in operation.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today it was crucial that everyone on sea and on land knew what to do when there was a cyclone in the area.
"The cyclone season officially begins 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 McCulloch said.
"The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a near-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.
"The tragic circumstances surrounding Cyclone George in 2007 demonstrated that it only takes one cyclone to cause significant damage and suffering.
"A high level of activity continues in the State's North-West, with a huge number of workers in the area.
"This includes workplaces with employees of several companies all working on the same site, so 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 need 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.
For the fishing, charter and recreational sectors, the Department of Transport has cyclone contingency plans for regional boat harbours at Point Sampson (Johns Creek), Onslow (Beadon Creek), Exmouth, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Denham.
"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," Mr McCulloch said.
"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."
Further information on cyclone contingency plans can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/WorkSafe. Information on Department of Transport plans can be obtained by telephoning the department on 9216 8876 or on the website at www.transport.wa.gov.au.
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