After a catastrophic event like the floods we have just experienced in Brisbane it is common to feel an urgency of wanting to help clean up and return to normal. As the Lord Mayor pulls together the Mud Army 2.0 and your team plan to get back to work, there is a lot to think about from a health and safety perspective before rushing in.
Personal safety is of prime importance, so please reiterate to your team that are helping clean up, if it is not safe for them, getting back to the workplace is not a priority.
Here are our top tips for safety after the flood:
- Flood waters very rapidly lead to bacterial infections.
- Watch out for dangerous wildlife, such as spiders and snakes.
- Ensure staff do not drive through flood waters. Remember, if it’s flooded, forget it!
- Follow the advice and instructions of your local emergency management 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.
- Beware of fallen power lines, damaged buildings and trees.
- Avoid the use of generators in poorly ventilated spaces during flood clean-ups to prevent the build-up of contaminant exhaust gases, including CO.
- Ensure generators and other fuel-powered equipment are in good condition and operate outdoors wherever possible.
- Wash hands thoroughly with clean water and soap after contact with flood water and flood affected materials.
- Cover any cuts or abrasions – use waterproof dressings if they are available.
- Wear rubber boots as debris and broken glass can be obscured by water or remaining mud and silt.
- Wear protective clothing during clean up, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, face mask and eye protection.
- Ensure staff cover up and wear insect repellent to minimise mosquito bites and to remain sun safe.
- Discard any food that has been in contact with flood water or has remained in a refrigerator or freezer with no power.
- Discard any soft furnishings that have come into contact with flood waters.
- Use bottled water or boil tap water as drinking water until advised otherwise.
Immediately after a natural disaster, and during recovery efforts, it is common to experience symptoms of psychological distress. With the support of colleagues, family and friends, most people will recover emotionally without the need for professional assistance. However, some people may be at risk of developing mental health problems without professional assistance.
While some may benefit from psychological support almost immediately after a trauma such as a natural disaster, others may need to seek assistance weeks or even months afterwards, so be prepared to talk freely with your team and monitor their mental health.
Learn more about WHS support
For more information on work health and safety for your business, or to book a Complimentary Consultation, get in touch with the team from Masula Compliance on 07 3348 3666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org