It’s getting hot out there! With summer fast approaching, it’s a reminder that managing the risk of heat stress is an important issue for our industry. Origin Energy is supporting an industry-wide safety collaboration by adopting & implementing the Safer Together Heat Stress Awareness e-Learn module, & key elements of the Management of Heat Stress Guideline.  

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Origin Energy is the upstream operator for Australia Pacific LNG and is responsible for the development of its Coal Seam Gas (CSG) fields in the Surat and Bowen basins and the main transmission pipeline that transports the gas to the LNG facility on Curtis Island near Gladstone. The people in Origin Energy’s on-site workforce often work in hot conditions in the field environment as well as production facilities.

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Managing the risk of heat stress is an important issue for the Oil and Gas Exploration & Production Industry in Australia. Heat stress events have occurred in the past and so many companies have developed and implemented heat stress guidelines and awareness training programs for their employees. Historically, each company has had their own approach to managing heat stress. All are focused on managing the same risk, but the format and content of each differs slightly from one company to the next.

Many of Origin Energy’s contractors work for multiple clients, all of whom have procedures and training programs in place for managing the risk of heat stress. Duplication of content and contradictory or mixed messages in different companies is more likely to disengage and confuse the contractor workforce, rather than help them.


The introduction of the Safer Together Management of Heat Stress Guideline provided a timely opportunity for Origin Energy to not only align with a new industry-wide approach, but to also review and refresh the company’s pre-existing Working in Hot Environments Procedure. 

Origin Energy decided to integrate key aspects of the Safer Together Management of Heat Stress Guideline into the company’s safety management controls, to help increase heat stress awareness across the Industry and provide guidance on mitigation measures that should be implemented for managing the risks to personnel exposed to heat.

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In the second half of 2022, Origin Energy adopted key elements from the Safer Together Management of Heat Stress Guideline into the Origin Working in Hot Environments Procedure. 

Updates to the Origin procedure included:

  • Replacing Origin Energy’s internal Heat Stress E-Learn training package with the Safer Together version
  • Developing a 2-page guide for field staff based on the new integrated procedure
  • Reducing four assurance tools down to one
  • Updating online tools to utilise the Safer Together Apparent Temperature calculation chart.

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The alignment with Safer Together has been well received by Origin Energy’s field staff because they can see for themselves the benefits:

  • Safer Together – adopting one common approach, with clear and consistent messages, results in everyone on site “speaking the same language” in relation to heat stress prevention and mitigation.
  • More Efficient Together - Reduced administrative burden on maintaining E-Learn material.
  • Continually Improving Together – Confidence that the material and data from the Guideline is industry best practice. In addition, adopting one common approach across the industry helps ensure alignment across teams when multiple different parties work together.

“Working with a variety of contractor and employee workgroups can sometimes create a disconnect in how messages are delivered. By having a consistent approach to delivering the messages about heat stress and how to manage and mitigate the risk, we avoided this and built a stronger workforce who feel supported and empowered.” (Facilities Superintendent)

"During the seismic trial program, heat-related illness controls were implemented.  Our Contractor with a crew of three was closely monitored by Origin supervisors to ensure compliance with the Origin Working in Hot Environments Procedure. Heat Related Illness was considered one of the higher risks during the seismic trial (along with road transport).  The heat stress controls were effective" (Geophysical Operations Supervisor)

"Alignment of our Working in Hot Environments Procedure with Safer Togethers prescribed Heat Index, delivered simplification for our operations for Red Alert and Black Alert days being more prescriptive.  This defined our requirements to manage this real risk associated with heat related illnesses or injury our people are exposed to and to consider our controls prior to any execution of work." (Projects Superintendent)

“Creating and maintaining a strong safety culture is about openness, honesty, consistency and fairness. Working with Safer Together has ticked these boxes for us, ensuring a consistent message and encouraging openness, honesty and sharing across industry.” (Facilities Superintendent).

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Lessons Learnt

HSE, IT and L&D in harmony – Close co-operation between HSE, IT and Learning & Development functions within your business is essential. Deployment of the e-Learn module is more likely to succeed if it is integrated seamlessly into your organisation’s existing Learning Management System (LMS), rather than being a “bolt-on”.

Think laterally - Consider all aspects of heat exposure to the workforce and where the Heat Stress guidance can be applied (e.g. equipment such as compressors that can give off excessive radiant heat). Also ensure you have diversity in the implementation team and consult with the workers who will use the Heat Stress Guideline.

Timed to perfection – Introduce this in the lead up to the hot season, not in the middle of winter. People are more likely to be convinced of the need for better heat stress management and awareness when the weather starts to get warmer, not when it’s freezing cold at their work location!

Download the Case Study Poster here.

For more information about Origin Energy click here.