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WA businesses reminded on cyclone contingency plans

06 November, 2007

WA’s cyclone season has officially begun, and businesses throughout the north-west of the State have been reminded to ensure contingency plans are established and in operation.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Nina Lyhne said 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 began yesterday, and the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast more cyclones this season than last,” Lyhne said.

“Under WA’s occupational safety and health laws, employers must have adequate plans and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a more active cyclone season this year than 2006/07, with approximately five cyclones expected to form off the North West coast, with around two coastal impacts and a significant risk of at least one severe coastal impact during the season.

Last month, staff from the Bureau of Meteorology, FESA and State Emergency Services visited communities in the north-west of the State to promote cyclone awareness and preparation initiatives.

“WorkSafe regularly issues reminders to the fishing industry to ensure contingency plans are in place, but the tragic circumstances surrounding Cyclone George in March have prompted the reminder to be extended to land areas,” Lyhne said.

“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.

“Everyone in the workplace – whether that be a fishing vessel or any other workplace – should be trained in the cyclone contingency plan
and follow all instructions given when a cyclone is in the vicinity.”

For the fishing industry, the Department for Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) has implemented cyclone contingency plans for its regional boat harbours at Point Samson (Johns Creek), Onslow (Beadon Creek), Exmouth and Carnarvon, available from the Department’s regional offices or on the website at www.dpi.wa.gov.au.

These plans are updated when required, so DPI encourages anyone using the plans to ensure that they have the most up-to-date version.

WorkSafe recommends that a cyclone contingency plan cover areas appropriate to each workplace, and that employees are trained in the procedures.

Further information on cyclone contingency plans can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 9327 8777 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.  Information on Department for Planning and Infrastructure plans can be obtained by telephoning the Department on 9264 7777. 

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