Secure worksites against storm activity

Top End businesses are urged to secure their worksites with the onset of the wet season and the increase in storm activity. The call follows NT WorkSafe inspectors investigating a number of near misses last week after a series of storm related incidents.

In the first incident, a number of steel planks from scaffolding at a high rise construction site in Darwin City were blown into the building under construction. The planks, weighing approximately 15kg each, had the potential to cause serious injury and damage.

NT WorkSafe inspectors attended a site where over 50 meters of temporary fencing adjacent to a car park collapsed in the same storm.

In a third incident, a second floor window of a Cavenagh Street office building smashed after it was hit by a glass tabletop from an outdoor patio setting. The table was blown from the balcony of a nearby high rise apartment block with the table frame later located in Litchfield Street. The desk next to the window was occupied at the time of the incident; however, the worker avoided injury as the windows blinds were down.

NT Work Health Authority, Doug Phillips, said that with the start of the cyclone season, Top End businesses need to ensure that their worksites and temporary structures are secure.

“People should not be waiting for a cyclone watch to be announced before they start cleaning up and securing their worksites, said Mr. Phillips.

“The afternoon storms that have been rolling into Darwin have generated some strong winds and the three near misses outlined above could have potentially resulted in tragic consequences.”

“Any construction material or temporary structure that has the potential to be picked up by strong winds can become deadly missiles if they are not secured, he said.

“All workplaces, not just construction sites, need to ensure that their furniture, equipment and other materials are secured.”

“Sandwich board signs, outdoor chairs and tables all have the potential to cause damage if they become airborne,” Mr. Phillips said.

Mr. Phillips also urged private residences to act on the broadcasts made by Northern Territory Emergency Services to clean up and secure their properties in preparation for the cyclone season.