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Work near water? Make sure your health and safety policy includes a section on flooding

by , 02 April 2013
Four people were killed on Sunday night after the car they were travelling in was swept away by raging floods in Kenya reports CapitalFM News. This comes after the Kenyan government issue flood warnings to tell residents in low-lying areas to settle in higher grounds. This is a senseless tragedy - and it could occur to anyone living or working near rivers or dams. If your company is situated near water, here's why you need to include flooding as part of your health and safety policy's environmental regulations today.

Flooding might not be something you've considered in your company's health and safety policy, but according to the Environmental Regulation clause in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, you have to.

After all, warns the health and safety expert Richard Swift in the Health and Safety Advisor not only can flooding ruin stock and cause extensive damage to machinery and equipment, it can even cause serious injuries or fatalities to your employees.

Setting up a flooding plan – consider these two health and safety precautions

'Flooding precautions are twofold', explains Swift. To protect your employees, you must assess your risks and establish precautionary measures.

In most cases, this means you'll need to set up a flood warning system in your company so that you can inform all your employees of an imminent flooding risk.

You'll also need to include safety procedures for the handling of office equipment and machinery.

What happens if a flood warning does occur?

'In the event of a flood warning it is important that everyone is prepared and has in mind the action they need to take with regard to their own premises,' advises the Rochdale Metropolitan Council's website.

And that means, wherever possible, your health and safety policy should ensure that employees remove equipment from any area in danger of flooding. You also need to ensure that, if your employee can do so safely, all electrical and gas equipment is switched off to avoid electrocution during the flood.

Another good tip when setting up your flooding procedure is to contact your insurers to find out what particular actions you need to take to satisfy your policy requirements. In many cases, this'll help you establish the guidelines for your health and safety policy's environmental regulations regarding flooding. 

Bottom line: No one can control the elements – but that doesn't mean you have to be at their mercy. Simply add a flooding section to your company's current health and safety policy to ensure your employees are safe if disaster strikes.

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