According to an article on the website SafetyCulture.com.au ,WorkCover NSW is reminding the community to take extreme care during the clean-up and renovation of properties following floods and fires to avoid the potential exposure to asbestos.
WorkCover has joined forces with other government agencies to assist people affected by the flooding to get back on their feet with minimal disruption to services for NSW businesses and individuals.
Additional resources have been allocated by WorkCover to help residents, businesses, workers and other organisations to protect people’s health and safety when cleaning up in bushfire and flooding affected areas.
The post goes on to list a number of issues to take into consideration during the clean-up:
If you are cleaning up after a flood or fire you should consider the following.
Check that an electricity clearance has been given before attempting to use it.
NSW Fair Trading has issued a warning to flood victims about solar panels.
Identify any likely asbestos containing materials or dangerous chemicals.
This website has additional detailed health and safety information and publications on high risk areas such as asbestos and electrical safety.
Assess the what work needs to be done
Work out the order of the work to be done so that new risks are not introduced. For example:
think about how you will get access to the areas where the work is to be done, or the possibility of creating instability from removing things in the wrong order
consider what could go wrong during the clean up and repair work
work out what tools and equipment will be needed to do the work safely
check the correct equipment is available and is in good working order
check that the people required to operate the equipment have the right skills and competencies and ensure supervision of less skilled workers is available
check that people allocated to perform work are not fatigued.
Another issue that people need to consider according to the article is first aid. It is vital that the appropriate first aid facilities are in place and people have clean drinking water and facilities to maintain hand hygiene and use the toilet. If there is an injury, there should be access to medical treatment.
Personal protective equipment is also important to protect the body and workers should have the necessary PPE for the jobs they are undertaking. These PPE must be correctly worn, workers should be educated on this.
WorkCover has also placed particular attention on counselling services. If there are any in place staff should be encouraged to use it and WorkCover will continue to offer advice and provide extra information so people who carry out work are fully aware of the safety requirements during recovery, repair or rebuilding operations.
Workers that are injured by the floods or fires and cannot get medical attention immediately can work together with WorkCover to meet their requirements so that their claims and compensation payouts are not affected.
WorkCover has also agreed to assist businesses that are financially affected by these disasters and are not able to pay their premiums to the Worker’s Compensation Scheme. This help can include waiving late payment fees, reinstating statutory instalments, and offering extended payments arrangements if needed.