ACT News

Virgin subsidiary agrees to deal over Canberra Airport workplace accident

A subsidiary of Virgin Australia will donate $50,000 to the Canberra Hospital neurosurgical unit as part of a six-figure settlement for a workplace injury at Canberra Airport. 

WorkSafe ACT announced on Tuesday an agreement with Virgin Tech, requiring the company to spend $625,000 to improve workplace health and safety procedures.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell said the settlement was the first time WorkSafe ACT had accepted an enforceable undertaking for occupational health and safety under laws passed in 2011.

Enforceable undertakings are legally binding agreements between private companies and the workplace safety authority.

In May last year a Virgin Tech employee was struck on the back of the head by a high-speed roller door while collecting recycling from the new terminal building at Canberra Airport. The employee received treatment and returned to work.

The regulator found the company lacked risk-assessment processes and warning devices and no training had been provided relating to the opening and closing of the high-speed doors. 


Staff were given no induction training at the airport site and there was a lack of reporting regarding a nearby pedestrian access door that was unserviceable at the time of the accident.

"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."

Mr Corbell praised Virgin Tech's decision not to pursue the matter in court and said the worker who had been injured was pleased with the company's response as part of the settlement. 

Enforceable agreements often include required activities designed to improve health and safety for staff of companies involved in safety incidents, as well as  provide benefits relevant to other workplaces, he said.