9 December 2014

Airline workplace safety a priority

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Work Safe ACT has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Virgin Tech, part of Virgin Australia Group, requiring it to spend $625,000 on a number of strategies to enhance workplace health and safety procedures following an incident where a staff member injured their neck in a workplace incident, Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, announced yesterday.

This is the first time Work Safe ACT has accepted an enforceable undertaking for occupational health and safety reasons under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

In May 2013, a Virgin Tech employee was collecting recycling from the new terminal premises at Canberra Airport, when he was struck on the back of the head by a high speed roller shutter door as he walked underneath it. The employee then received treatment and returned to work.
The enforceable undertaking from Virgin Tech includes a $50,000 donation to the Neurosurgical Unit at the Canberra Hospital.

“The agreement is a good result for Virgin Tech workers, the company and for industry, based on the improvements that will result from the investment in health and safety,” Mr Corbell said.

“It is also a good result for WorkSafe ACT and the ACT government as it demonstrates how the regulator can negotiate positive outcomes with employers, and how investment in additional inspector resources has led to improved capacity to resolve serious incidents.”

WorkSafe ACT identified a number of issues including a lack of risk assessment at the location and no warning devices or training relating to the opening and closing of the high speed roller doors.

WorkSafe ACT further found no induction training had been provided at the new premises, and there was a lack of reporting regarding a nearby pedestrian access door that was unserviceable at the time.

“Virgin Tech has responded to this incident positively, not least of all through its proposal to commit significant resources for improving work health and safety, and providing training and education initiatives to benefit all involved,” Mr Corbell said.

“I understand the injured worker was also pleased with the way Virgin Tech responded to the incident, which is an important step in the right direction. It is heartening to see a company recognising the benefit of committing resources to safety improvements rather than using company resources to fund lengthy court battles.”

Details of the enforceable undertaking can be found at www.worksafe.act.gov.au

(Simon Corbell Media Release)

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