Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322
Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322

Hazard management advice for bushfire-affected areas

WorkSafe Tasmania advises caution when entering a zone recovering from a bushfire.

The table below details typical hazards and provides advice on how to handle them. For further information, see Resources below.

In case of an emergency, call 000.

Hazard

Risk/Risk Level

Where they can be found

What to do

LP gas tanks/cylinders

HIGH RISK

Flammable gas

BBQ

Petrol stations

Shops

Houses

Farms

Ring your LP Gas supplier if damaged/affected by fire.

ELGAS (Swap and Go): 131 161

Kleenheat Gas: 132 180

Origin (Quick swap): 133 574

Supagas: 137 872

BOC: 131 262

Explosives facilities/magazines power gel, detonators, flares, ammunition, det cord, fireworks

HIGH RISK

Explosion

Dedicated storage facilities

Magazines

Quarries

Farms

Shops

If storage facility affected by fire, assess condition of explosives/facility.

Contact WorkSafe Tasmania for further advice

Aerosol cans

LOW RISK

Flammable

Houses

Shops

Farms

Aerosol cans are likely to have been consumed by fire

Diesel tanks, drums, containers

LOW RISK

Combustible

Houses

Shops

Farms

If tanks/containers damaged by fire, contents should have been consumed by fire unless tanks underground

Swimming pool chemicals: for example, chlorine, sodium/calcium hypochloride

LOW RISK

Toxic Gas / Oxidizing

Public swimming pools

House pools

Chemical suppliers

If chemicals not consumed by fire, assess condition of chemicals and containers

Contact chemical supplier

Oxygen/acetylene welding sets

LOW RISK

Flammable gas

Houses

Shops

Farms

Contact specific gas supply company if cylinders are damaged by fire

Compressed gas cylinders, for example, beer gas (carbon dioxide), medical oxygen, nitrogen, argon, helium

LOW RISK

Flammable gas

Toxic gas

Workshops

Hotels

Hospitals

Medical clinics

Ambulances

Contact specific gas supply company if cylinders are damaged by fire

Refrigeration systems containing refrigerants, for example ammonia gas

LOW RISK

Toxic gas

Farms

Shops

Houses

Contact specific gas supply company if system damaged by fire

Compressed gas cylinders eg beer gas (carbon dioxide), medical oxygen, nitrogen, argon, helium

LOW RISK

Toxic gas

Workshops

Hotels

Hospitals

Medical clinics

Ambulances

Houses

Contact specific gas supply company if cylinders damaged by fire

Pesticides, herbicides

LOW RISK

Highly toxic

Farms

Houses

Sheds

Nurseries

No action, as most of the substances likely consumed by fire

Live electricity, for example live power lines

HIGH RISK

Electrocution

Fire-damaged property

Do not enter property unless Emergency Services officers, power authorities or local councils have advised that it is safe to do so

Reticulated (piped) gas leakage

HIGH RISK

Flammable gas

Fire-damaged property with piped gas from mains gas supply

Turn gas off at the meter if there is safe access. If not possible, move away from the area and immediately contact the gas supplier. Contact a licensed plumbing practitioner to check installation

Septic or leaking sewerage

MEDIUM RISK

Injury

LOW RISK

Disease

Properties with septic tanks

Look for collapsed or removed septic tank lids. Isolate area where lids are absent. Avoid walking in sewerage contaminated areas. Wear suitable protective clothing and decontaminate if required to work in the area.

Unstable trees and overhanging branches. Many trees already weakened by continuing dry conditions have been further weakened by heat and fires. Trees and large limbs are likely to fall without warning

HIGH RISK

Injury or death

Fire damaged property

Roads

Suspect trees need to be trimmed / fallen. If required contact your local council for assistance. Unsafe trees and branches should be removed before any work activity or cleanup operation is undertaken.

Unstable/damaged structures, for example walls, chimneys, roofs, water tanks, may be at risk of collapse. Remaining free standing chimneys, in particular, must be regarded as an imminent risk

HIGH RISK

Injury or death

Fire damaged property

If unsure about the stability of structures seek advice from your local council. Unstable structures should be knocked down before any work activity or cleanup operation is undertaken.

Asbestos

HIGH RISK

Delayed respiratory disease and cancer

Buildings built before 1990 may contain asbestos- containing material such as asbestos cement sheeting in walls, roofs, floor and floor backing, eaves and chimney flues

It is very difficult to identify asbestos just by looking at it. If you are unsure, it is strongly advised that you contact a licensed asbestos removalist. Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times. For more information and for licensed asbestos removalists, see Asbestos Safety for licensed asbestos removalists.

Ash from burnt copper chrome arsenic (CCA) treated timber

MEDIUM RISK

Toxic ash (mainly by ingestion)

CCA-treated timber used in decking, pergolas, fencing, landscaping

Keep children, pets and farm animals away from CCA ash until it is cleaned up. Collect ash and dispose of at an EPA- approved landfill site. Do not bury. Do not eat, drink or smoke in areas containing CCA ash.

Practice good personal hygiene (wash hands). Moisten ash with water to minimize dust and keep damp. Do not use high pressure water sprays. Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times including P2 face masks.

Ash from burnt structures, furnishings, vegetation

MEDIUM RISK

Toxic ash

Toxic gas

Fire-damaged structures and properties

Do not eat, drink or smoke in areas containing ash.

Practice good personal hygiene (wash hands). Moisten ash with water to minimize dust and keep damp. Do not use high pressure water sprays. Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times including P2 face masks.

Updated: 15th January 2020