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Alert 5 - Using transportable buildings in areas prone to cyclones and high-wind gusts
Employers using transportable buildings or dongas should be aware of the hazards of using these buildings in areas prone to cyclones and high-wind gusts.
In March 2007, two people died and 20 were injured while they sheltered in their donga from a cyclone that crossed the Western Australian coast.
Given the cyclone season has already commenced, employers should consider the recommendations below issued through a joint Safety Bulletin by WorkSafe WA and WA Department of Mines.
Who is affected?
Anyone occupying a transportable building or donga in an area prone to cyclones and high-wind gusts.
- Employers who provide dongas or accommodation units for their employees must develop emergency procedures and plans in conjunction with their relevant regional emergency planning groups.
The emergency plans should include details for making the site safe for personnel. This should include the removal/restraint of loose objects and structures and evacuation of personnel.
- Every accommodation unit or donga and every transportable building on
worksites and camps in cyclone sensitive regions should be adequately secured and anchored. Employers should seek engineering advice on the construction standards applicable to each wind region. This advice will ensure accommodation units or dongas, transportable buildings and cyclone shelters in cyclone sensitive regions are adequately designed and constructed in accordance with the Design Guidelines for Australian Public Cyclone Shelters, published by Queensland Public Works for Emergency Management Australia, and Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1170.2:2002.
- During the Blue and Yellow Alert Cyclone Warning phase a safe and orderly evacuation of non essential personnel from the worksite or camp should be considered before high intensity cyclones pass in close proximity to the site.
- Employees remaining on site during the cyclone should be moved to a
designated appropriate shelter well before the cyclone arrives so they are not injured when transferring to the shelter.
- If employees are required to stay on site they should have enough food and essential items while there is no access to the site.
- All personnel should be trained and inducted in emergency evacuation procedures. These procedures should be regularly tested.
- During the Red Alert Cyclone Warning phase (i.e. damage or interruption to power, telephone and other communication systems), a reliable emergency backup communication system should be on site to ensure contact with external emergency services.
- Each site should continuously monitor cyclone warnings by radio, television, and through the internet via the Bureau of Meteorology or emergency services websites. A battery-powered radio should be available in each site in case the power is cut off.
For more information, call Comcare’s Health and Safety Assistance Section on 1300 366 979.
You can also find information on preparing for cyclones from the following websites:
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Fire and Emergency Services Authority
- Australian and New Zealand Standards - AS/NZS 1170.2:2002