WHS Information

If it's flooded, forget it.

Remember when workers are assisting with the clean up after a flood event there remains duties and obligations under WHS legislation. 

Broadly:-

  • employers have duties to provide and maintain a safe work environment; provide adequate facilities for the welfare of their workers; and monitor the health of their workers to prevent illness/injury.
  • workers duties include taking reasonable care for their own health and safety; not adversely affecting the health and safety of others; complying as far as reasonably able to follow employers reasonable instruction, policy, and procedures. 

Always follow the advice and instructions of local emergency management authorities before returning to your workplace.

Awareness in the flood clean up and storm recovery include ensuring:

  • Gas, electricity, water and sewerage have been checked by the relevant authorities before returning to your workplace. Do not use gas or electrical appliances which have been in flood water until checked by an authorised, competent person.
  • Any likely asbestos containing materials or hazardous chemicals are identified
  • Consider what work needs to be done and in what order - ensuring that new risks are not introduced
  • Work out what tools and equipment will be needed to do the work safely – people operating equipment must have the right skills and competencies, not be fatigued, and supervision is available for less skilled workers.
  • Have the right personal protective equipment available and worn correctly – enclosed footwear/boots, gloves, hats, eyewear, sun protection, insect repellent, drink plenty of water
  • When dealing with flood water, mud and debris take the right steps to prevent infections – workers should cover cuts and abrasions with waterproof dressings; wash hands effectively and frequently
  • Maintaining food safety is important too, especially if power has been cut or food has come in contact with flood water. Dispose of all food that has been in contact with floodwater and has not been refrigerated for more than 4hours.
  • If using generators as part of the clean up process, ensure they are situated in well-ventilated areas preferably outside to prevent the build of toxic gases
  • Consider access to toilet facilities; first aid needs; clean drinking water; hand hygiene measures; along with known access to medical treatment in the event of an injury occurring
  • Highlight access to counselling services available to your workers and encourage its use.

For further assistance contact us on 1300 731 988

Download this information in an A4 size printable document format.