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The Department of Commerce is reminding businesses across Western Australia to get their contingency plans sorted out as cyclone season begins.

It’s a requirement under workplace health and safety (WHS) laws for businesses to have plans in place to manage extreme weather events.

According to WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch, it’s also crucial for businesses to provide their employees with adequate WHS training, so they can protect themselves and each other if a cyclone hits.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a near-average number of cyclones off the North-West coast of Australia this season, with two coastal impacts expected.

While this may not seem like much, Mr McCulloch is adamant that “it only takes one cyclone to cause significant damage and suffering”.

He drew attention to Cyclone George, one of the most destructive cyclones that Western Australia has faced since 1975.

It was designated a Category 5 cyclone as it approached the North-West coast back in 2007,  killing  three people and causing numerous injuries.

A large number of people work in the North-West part of Western Australia, and Mr McCulloch says its important that everyone knows exactly what to do if a cyclone threat is detected.

He also reminds employees on worksites that accommodate several businesses to make sure they have coordinated contingency plans, so that everyone can work together and keep safe.

“Employers should not leave anything to chance when a cyclone is threatening, and must make sure safe work practices are in place well before a cyclone is in their vicinity,” explains Mr McCulloch.

Those operating fishing vessels along the coast also need to take precautions, and make sure they have a list of sheltered anchorages on hand when out at sea as well as a contingency plan.

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