This is a safety reminder to business operators to review their contingency plans for the 2021-22 cyclone season.
Employers in control of workplaces in cyclone sensitive regions must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook (link is external), the cyclone season runs from November to April.
Each year an average of three tropical cyclones occur in the Northern region and an average of four cyclones occur in the Eastern region.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology the Norther region has a 57% chance of more tropical cyclones this season while the Eastern region has a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones.
Cyclones can isolate workers by cutting off access to emergency services, roads, transport, power, infrastructure and communications.
Cyclonic weather conditions increase hazards to crew members and workers and may devastate commercial vessel operations and shore-based businesses!,
Commercial vessel and business operators must prepare response plans for the likely risks of cyclones.
Operators must also coordinate the plans for sites with multiple employers by appropriately training all workers.
“All crew members and employees must know exactly what actions to take in the event of a cyclone.”
Employers in control of workplaces should consider the following:
- Develop emergency procedures and plans
- Regularly review training and include the plan when providing on-site inductions.
- Detail site-safe actions to be undertaken at all levels of cyclone warning phases. For example: remove or restrain loose objects or structures; have step-by-step plans for the safe evacuation of workers; and have clear communication protocols established for reaching all personnel on-site during all cyclone alert warning phases.
- All transportable buildings on worksites in cyclone sensitive regions are to be adequately secured including accommodation units, dongas and offices.
- Plan for a safe and orderly evacuation of non-essential personnel prior to worsening conditions e.g., during the blue and yellow cyclone warning phases.
- All personnel remaining on-site during the cyclone should move to an appropriate designated shelter well in advance of the arrival of the cyclone.
- Adequate food, drinking water, medical supplies and other essential items are to be available for all isolated workers.
- During the red alert cyclone warning phase, a reliable emergency backup communication is to be available for contact with external emergency services.
- Cyclone warnings are monitored via radio, television or the Bureau of Meteorology websites. Battery-powered radios are to be available in the event of power interruptions on site.
If you operate a vessel or a business in cyclone regions you should have a procedure in place which covers all warning phases including:
- Cyclone watch
- Cyclone alert
If in doubt or unable to complete one contact our office for assistance.
Our best tip is if you don’t have a cyclone procedure in place contact our office for assistance.
In addition to a cyclone procedures, it’s wise to have a Continuity Plan in place in the event your vessel or business suffers damage or loss not only due to a cyclone but any other major event.