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Health & Safety Bulletin
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Protecting your workers during wild weather
Thursday, 23rd April, 2015, by Alanna Furlan
In today's Health & Safety Bulletin:
  • How to protect workers during storms and floods
Dear Reader,
Did you get hit by the wild weather in NSW recently?
Poor weather conditions, such as storms and floods, can greatly increase risks for workers who work outside or need to travel as part of their work.
Those risks can include:
  • dangerous driving conditions;
  • falling trees;
  • flooded roads or pathways; and
  • damaged plant and equipment that is exposed to the weather.
In today’s Health & Safety Bulletin, Michael Selinger will discuss how you can take steps to minimise the risks to your workers during wild weather.
Take care,

Alanna Furlan
Editor
Health & Safety Bulletin
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How to protect workers during storms and floods
By Michael Selinger
Editor-in-Chief, Health & Safety Handbook
The recent thunderstorms in NSW, which created dangerous flood levels, raise the question of how to fulfil your obligation to keep your staff safe if they need to work or travel in these conditions.
Your obligation to take all reasonably practicable steps requires you to consider:
  • whether any of your workers might be exposed to risks arising from dangerous weather conditions; and
  • what controls you can put in place to mitigate the risk of injury.  
In some cases, it may be best to require that the work is not undertaken at all if the risks of injury are deemed to be too high, e.g. if the work needs to be conducted outside, but a storm would greatly increase the risks.
You also need to consider workers who are exposed to dangerous weather conditions while travelling from one location to the next. In these cases, you will need to give directions to staff on how to safely undertake the task in the dangerous conditions. A different approach to the task may be required, such as using an alternate form of transport.
If you have workers who need to travel by road in dangerous conditions, some practical instructions you can give them include that they should:
  • exercise extreme caution when driving on roads, e.g. by keeping their lights on and travelling slowly;
  • if possible, park vehicles in secure car parks, or at least away from trees;
  • not attempt to drive through a flooded road; and
  • if in doubt about their safety, stop the vehicle and contact you or the business.
As weather conditions can be unpredictable, it is important to consult with workers and others before commencing any potentially hazardous tasks. Although you cannot be held responsible for controlling the unforeseeable, in dangerous weather conditions there will always be information available about the level of risk in particular locations. You are required to obtain this information in order to best protect your workers.
Warm regards,
Michael Selinger signature
Michael Selinger 
Editor-in-Chief
Health & Safety Handbook

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