WorkSafe WA has reminded businesses they must ensure that their cyclone contingency plans were ready before being put into operation.
WorkSafe Commissioner, Darren Kavanagh said everyone on both sea and land must have 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-11, and typically around four will cross the coast.”
He said WA had experienced numerous cyclones that caused significant damage and suffering, with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from the storms over the years.
“Tragically, 10 workers have lost their lives as a result of cyclones over the past 27 years — seven as a result of Cyclone Bobby in 1995, two in Cyclone George in 2007 and one in Cyclone Dominic in 2009,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“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.”
He said fishing vessels needed to keep a list of sheltered anchorages and have information on how to use them, along with a specific 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 had cyclone contingency plans for regional boat harbours along the 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.