Immediately after the accident the operator suspended all winching operations pending their initial investigations. Following that investigation and an associated risk assessment, winch operations were recommenced.
An interim investigation report was published by the operator with associated safety action. That action included reinforcing the need to critically assess a patient’s physical and medical state and any associated risks before committing to using the rescue strop without utilising the hypothermic strap.
On 5 September 2013, the operator issued an Immediate Safety Notification to its air crewmen, rescue crewmen and pilots. The notice promulgated an order of priority use of rescue equipment for application in overland winch operations. The order of priority, in decreasing priority of use was to use the harness, followed by the stretcher, rescue strop utilising the hypothermic strap with the chest strap connected and then the rescue strop with the chest strap connected.
On 12 November 2014, the operator provided further advice of safety action taken within their organisation. This included, in conjunction with Air Ambulance Victoria, enhancing the existing on-scene patient assessment for possible recovery by rescue strop to include:
- Patient weight and weight distribution,
- Height of [the] potential winch in light of patient fitness/strength, weight and weight distribution, and
- Patient medical contraindications, specifically conditions that may adversely affect Heart Rate, Respiratory Function and/or ability to maintain consciousness.
Also in conjunction with Air Ambulance Victoria, the operator commenced the introduction of, and training for a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)-approved aviation rescue vest (seat-type harness).
In addition to the proactive safety action by the aircraft operator and Air Ambulance Victoria, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released a Safety Advisory Notice (SAN) to other operators of rescue and other winch-fitted helicopters.