Kimberley primary health care provider recognised for road safety excellence

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Kimberley primary health care provider recognised for road safety excellence

5 November 2019

2019 Insurance Commission Regional Safety Award winner Boab Health Services

Boab Health Services in the Kimberley has won the Insurance Commission Regional Safety Award at the 2019 Western Australian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.

The primary health care services provider won the award and a $2,000 prize for its remote travel safety systems.

The Insurance Commission sponsors the award to recognise community-led initiatives that promote road safety in regional areas.

Outback safety

Boab Health, a not-for-profit registered charity, provides allied health, mental health and care coordination services at its Broome and Kununurra locations and to some of the remotest towns and communities in WA, via its outreach programs.

Its fleet of four-wheel-drive vehicles is equipped with key safety features, including satellite tracking, emergency duress pendants, satellite phone and emergency breakdown kits. New employees receive comprehensive remote travel orientation training and a remote travel manual is constantly updated and developed.

As a result, Boab Health has had no major incidents for over 21 years, involving any of its 30 staff who travel monthly to remote facilities in the Kimberley.

Kane Blackman, Commission Secretary at the Insurance Commission, says: “Congratulations to Boab Health on winning the Regional Safety Award – a fantastic achievement.

“Driving in the Kimberley is quite an experience but preparation is key given its remoteness and variable road conditions. Boab Health has set the bar high for employers operating in such areas by not only equipping its vehicles with a full complement of safety and tracking equipment but, importantly, providing ongoing comprehensive training, which is necessary on outback roads.

“They ticked all the boxes with the judges by putting such a strong focus on the safety of their remote workforce who deliver essential health services to the community.”

Boab Health Chief Executive Matt Burrows says: “It was wonderful to be recognised for the strong safety measures in place at Boab Health. They are the result of a committed workforce looking out for each other over many years and showing an interest in how we can improve our safety precautions.

“The Award really speaks to the strong safety culture in the organisation, which operates in a unique region of the world. It acknowledges that safety in the workplace means safety in an office, in a vehicle, in someone’s home or out in the bush under a boab tree.”

The Insurance Commission’s Valerie Miles saw first-hand Boab Health's remote travel safety system during a recent visit to the Kimberley.

Regional WA crashes

The cost of crashes in regional WA to the Insurance Commission was over $118 million last year and it received around 2,400 new motor injury insurance claims. It estimates that it will pay over $1 billion in future expenses for regional claims received to date.

Kane Blackman says: “Road safety is so important in our regional communities because car crashes are still over-represented in those areas. In 2019, around half of catastrophic injuries occurred on regional roads but only a third of people catastrophically injured live there.”


The Regional Safety Award runners-up were Shire of Denmark Roadwise Committee for its ‘Sober Super Hero’ drink-driving road safety initiative targeted at P-platers and other young drivers; and Royal Perth Hospital’s P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk Related Trauma in Youth) Program that promotes injury prevention through vivid clinical reality to help young people recognise risks and consequences of risk-taking behaviour.

Kane Blackman continues: “The Award helps recognise community-led road safety initiatives that play a key role in encouraging safer driving and reducing road trauma across the state. Both runners-up deserve great credit for delivering successful initiatives in partnership with other stakeholders.

“By working together, we can all make WA roads safer.”

The awards evening took place on 18 October 2019 at the Hyatt Regency, Perth.

Page Last Updated 15 Nov 2019

Media contact

Gavin Hill-Smith
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+61 8 9264 3227