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Flood Recovery

Commonwealth employers and workers involved in flood recovery efforts must remember their obligations to manage health and safety risks under the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011.

Comcare recognises that many federal workers and their families that are supported by our services may be experiencing difficulties due to natural disasters (such as Cyclone Yasi and the past floods in Queensland). Comcare understands it may be challenging to communicate or attend medical appointments and have put in place arrangements to ensure no injured worker is disadvantaged.

If you wish to lodge a claim for workers’ compensation, please see the ‘Claims’ web-link in the tools section or contact our Claims Management team on 1300 366 979.

Risks

There are a broad range of health and safety risks associated with floods, flash floods and flood recovery that need to be considered and controlled.

Ensuring vigilance and maintaining safety during flood recovery work can reduce the risk of death, injury and illness to workers and others involved in clean up and repair efforts of flooding.

Typical risks encountered during flood recovery include heat stress, psychological injury, injury from slips, trips and falls, musculoskeletal injury, infectious, mosquito-borne and diarrhoeal disease, skin infections, fatigue, injury from displaced fauna, falls from heights, injury from damaged structures, chemical and asbestos related injuries amongst many others.

Remedy

Before attempting any activity in a flood-affected area, use the risk management principles to assess if you or your work colleagues may be put in danger as a result of the work activity you may be undertaking.

  • Identify the hazards—the fact sheet linked below lists some of the associated hazards.
  • Assess the level of risk—using the Risk Management tools below assess the likelihood of exposure to the hazard, and the consequences (what harm could be done).
  • Control the risk—identify and implement a control as per the hierarchy of controls.
  • Review the control measures—determine the effectiveness of the implemented control and make sure you have not introduced a new risk.

Resources

Information SourceContents
Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety
Comcare – Guidance on making a claimComcare guidance on how to lodge a compensation claim
Comcare – Flood Recovery – WHS Considerations fact sheetFact sheet on Work, Health and Safety obligations involving flood recovery activities

Notifications

Information sourceWhat it contains
Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act
Page last updated: 31 Mar 2016