While part of Australia has been facing a disastrous bushfire crisis, the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts more ‘normal’ summer conditions from February onwards, which translates into storms, cyclones and flooding in some regions
With storms, cyclones and flooding a real risk to Queensland at this time of year, businesses should have plans in place to be able to clean up safely after wild weather.
According to Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace, “Electrical safety must be top of mind if your worksite has flooded – you cannot assume the power is off.”
“Stay well away from the switchboard if it’s been damaged by water – and warn others to do the same.
“Generators should only be used to power essential equipment – run them outside and don’t connect them to the property unless you have had a changeover switch with the right generator socket fitted.
“Any appliances or electrical equipment that have been submerged must be checked by a licensed contractor before you try to use them. It’s just not worth the risk.”
Ms Grace said that those in charge of volunteers helping clean-up and recovery efforts have duties under state laws to keep them safe too.
“Local councils or employers co-ordinating clean-up or recovery activities must assess the potential for hazardous conditions and should provide volunteers with the information, training, supervision and equipment to work safely. This includes managing fatigue and heat stress, as people can easily forget to look out for themselves when they’re caught up in the drama of the situation.”
“To minimise the risk of biological hazards, maintain good hand and personal hygiene, clean and cover cuts and wounds. If contact with flood water and mud is unavoidable, wear enclosed footwear, gloves and suitable clothing,” Ms Grace said.
“Environmental conditions after storms and floods increase the risk of infectious diseases, with skin infections, diarrhoea, respiratory infections and mosquito-borne diseases the most common.
“Less commonly, contact with floodwater can cause serious illness such as leptospirosis and melioidosis,” Ms Grace concluded.