Get ready for cyclone season

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has provided a reminder of the dangers cyclones pose to the industry.

Mining and petroleum operations across the state have been told to ensure contingency plans are established and can be activated ahead of the start of the cyclone season on November 1.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook for 2018 to 2019 expects fewer cyclones to hit the state’s North West over the coming season. However, the DMIRS urged mine sites to be prepared regardless.

The region typically experiences five cyclones every season, it stated. This season BOM has forecast a 41 per cent chance of the region experiencing more than the average.

DMIRS deputy director General Safety Ian Munns said it only took one cyclone to impact an unprepared site for there to be a devastating impact.

“It is critical that mining and petroleum operators have adequate plans and provide appropriate training to protect workers from hazards at the workplace, including natural hazards such as cyclones,” Munns said.

BOM’s outlook found that the Northwestern sub-region, which includes the Pilbara and Kimberley, has a 41 per cent chance of more tropical cyclones than average.

A safety alert developed by DMIRS offers the following advice for workplaces in cyclone-sensitive regions.

  • Employers should develop emergency procedures and plans in conjunction with advice from DFES and other regional emergency planning groups where their work sites and camps are located.
  • The emergency plans should include details for making the site safe and ensuring the safety of personnel as far as is practicable. This should include the removal or restraint of loose objects and structures and evacuation of personnel. The plans must be communicated to all personnel likely to be on site during the cyclone season.
  • Every accommodation unit or donga and every transportable building on work sites in cyclone sensitive regions should be adequately secured.
  • During the Blue and Yellow Alert Cyclone Warning phase, a safe and orderly evacuation of non-essential personnel from the work site or camp should be considered before high intensity cyclones pass by.