WA businesses urged to prepare contingency plan as cyclone season approaches

As Western Australia’s cyclone season starts, WorkSafe WA reminds businesses throughout the North-West of the State to ensure contingency plans are established and in operation.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today it was important that everyone on sea and land knew what to do during a cyclone.

“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,” said Mr McCulloch.

“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 should have a list of sheltered anchorages as well as information on how to use them, along with a specific action plan for each vessel according to the distance from the cyclone and safe havens.

The Department of Transport offers cyclone contingency plans for regional boat harbours for the fishing, charter and recreational sectors 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,” said Mr McCulloch.

“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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