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With Tropical Cyclone Ilsa about to cross the N-W coast, businesses throughout the State have been reminded to ensure that cyclone contingency plans have been established and are in operation.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said today it was crucial that everyone on both sea and land had safe systems of work in place and operating when a cyclone approached.
“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,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“The average number of tropical cyclones per season is nine to eleven, and typically around four will cross the coast.
“WA has experienced numerous cyclones that have caused significant damage and suffering, with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from the storms over the years.
“Tragically, ten WA workers have lost their lives as a result of cyclones over the past 27 years - seven as a result of Cyclone Bobby in1995, two in Cyclone George in 2007 and one in Cyclone Dominic in 2009.
“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.”
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 along the WA coast.
“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 Kavanagh said.
“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.”
Further information on cyclone contingency plans can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.
Media Contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).
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