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Early Intervention Award: Virgin Australia Airlines

Virgin Australia Airlines was the winner of the 2018 Comcare Work Health and Safety Early Intervention Award.

Video transcript

About Virgin Australia Airlines

Virgin Australia Airlines (VAA) provides domestic and international passenger air transport and air freight services. Virgin Australia was granted a self-insurance licence by the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission effective from 30 September 2016.

The problem and/or challenge

Due to the dynamic and ever-changing environment of a mobile workforce, Virgin Australia recognised the negative contribution of injuries to long-term employee health and wellbeing. Their reports were showing high rates of musculoskeletal injuries, increased rates of work disability and associated cost which prompted VAA to develop innovative approaches to managing the health and productivity of their workforce. Virgin see an average of 500 incidents reported per quarter with Cabin Crew, operating in a manual task environment. Body stressing is the primary mechanism of injury.

The approach and outcome

VAA implemented a triage service facilitated by the Unified Healthcare Group (UHG), termed VA-Care, and an onsite physiotherapy service in partnership with AXIS Onsite Physiotherapy Clinics. VA-Care provides initial medical support to employees following a workplace injury or illness. Team members have access to immediate injury and illness reporting, medical advice and treatment via a 24/7 hotline, and injury management services for up to three days. AXIS provides early intervention treatment, and a secondary injury prevention strategy aiming to reduce the impact of an injury once it has occurred. Supporting both work-related and non-work-related injuries, the service adopts a holistic approach considering all occupational and non-occupational factors impacting an employee.

Key achievements

  • VA-Care has been further developed to assist the Ground Crew.
  • VA-Care and AXIS has expanded to a new health and wellbeing App program called ‘Better Me’ which helps VAA to manage their data more efficiently.
  • VAA has since updated their standard operating procedures, and ergonomic equipment as well as rolling out a series of presentations across the organisation and enlisting Drug, Alcohol Management Program (DAMP) Supervisors.
  • VAA have seen a 47 per cent reduction in cabin crew claims lodgement and over 90 per cent of VA-Care cases are now cleared for suitable/pre-injury duties within three days.

Further information

For further information on Virgin Australia’s entry and project, please email Bron Taylor, Manager Group Workplace Safety, Virgin Australia Airlines.

Virgin Australia

Page last updated: 18 Oct 2018