NT WorkSafe recently issued a safety alert reminding employers of their duties to workers and others in the lead up, during and following an emergency situation in the aftermath of Cyclone Marcus.
The cyclone, which passed over Darwin and rural areas on Saturday 17 March 2018, caused significant damage to essential services, mainly triggered by falling trees.
Not all businesses initiated an emergency plan in a timely manner, and some non-essential workers were expected to work after the official warning to take shelter had been issued, and continued to work throughout the event.
Other workers were required to return to work before the official all-clear had been given, and some were without basic worker amenities.
Some non-essential businesses were advertising they were open for business, even though emergency services were requesting members of the public to stay off the roads due to the continuing risk posed by fallen trees and powerlines.
The safety alert recommended a number of actions:
Ensure your business has an emergency plan, which includes preparedness for cyclones.
Implement the emergency plan in a timely manner, and ensure your workers have plenty of time to return home safely.
Non-essential workers should not be required to return to work until NT Police, Fire & Emergency Services advise it is safe to do so. This advice will be published online at SecureNT and broadcast on ABC radio.
Workers must have a clear and safe passage to return to and from work.
Basic amenities must be available to workers at work. This includes the availability of toilet facilities and drinking water.