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Be prepared for flood and storm season

With up to seven cyclones predicted in the lead up to the Queensland summer, the RACQ Get Ready Queensland campaign is helping Queenslanders to get ready for wild storms and floods.

Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland head Dr Simon Blackwood said business owners should not forget that not only their homes need to be prepared for storm season but also their workplaces.

“Good preparation will help to prevent the risk of workplace injuries, as well help minimise property damage that extreme weather can cause,” Dr Blackwood said.

“During storm season, loose materials and objects should be secured and any incomplete structures should be braced to prevent collapse.

“Dangerous goods and hazardous substances should be properly disposed of or stored and locked away.

“If your workplace is affected by storms or floods, remember that work safety laws still apply during the clean-up.”

Dr Blackwood said business operators could find information on dealing with electrical and asbestos issues caused by storms, as well as cleaning up flooded properties, by visiting www.worksafe.qld.gov.au and searching for ‘storms and floods’.

“The website also includes advice about safe handling of damaged asbestos materials, such as older fences and roofs,” Dr Blackwood said.

“One of the most important things to avoid is using high pressure water blasters on any material that contains asbestos – it’s illegal and very dangerous.

“Many businesses also have solar panels installed on their roofs which can present electrical safety risks if damaged or submerged.

“In these cases, avoid getting on the roof unless absolutely necessary and keep well away from solar panels, the inverter and associated cables.

“Even if the network supply is turned off, solar panels will continue producing electricity during the day and the PV cells and associated wiring will be live.”

Follow these steps to plan a clean-up safely:

  • Always treat electrical cabling as if it is live.

  • Identify any likely asbestos containing materials or dangerous chemicals.

    Work out the order of the work to be done so that new risks are not introduced.

    Work out what tools and equipment will be needed to do the work safely.

    Check the correct equipment is available and is in good working order.

    Check that the people required to operate the equipment have the right skills and competencies and ensure less skilled workers are supervised.

    Check that people allocated to perform work are not fatigued.

    Make sure that workers have the correct personal protective equipment (for example rubber-soled shoes, gloves, hats, sun protective clothing and high visibility vests) and it is worn correctly.

    Check that appropriate first aid, clean drinking water and hand hygiene measures are available.

For more information, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.

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Last reviewed
28 November 2014
Last updated
5 November 2015
 
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