The story of safety in the Oil, Gas & Energy industry is one of growth and transformation. To have a meaningful conversation about the future, we must look back to where we started.  At October’s Industry Safety Forum (ISF) in Perth, we heard from Senior Leaders and frontline workers about our journey and discussed our industry's changing needs into the future.

The day kicked off with an introduction to our 150 delegates from Jeremy Campbell-Wray (Strategic Accounts & Regional Growth Director, Baker Hughes); looking back events since our last ISF in Perth. 

He introduced Aunty Sandra Harben (Creative Whadjuk Noongar Cultural Consultant) who delivered a heartfelt Welcome to Country to help ensure safe passage on country, who closed by leading the room in speaking Noongar language, connecting us directly to the land on which we gathered.

THEN:  To have a meaningful conversation about the future, we must look back to where we started.

The plenary session began with Niall Myles (Inaugural Co-Chair (Operators) WA/NT Safety Leaders Group, Safer Together), with his presentation “Looking Back”; starting with a reminder to our Senior Leaders that it is ‘the fundamental responsibility of leaders to keep their people safe’.  We know that visible, engaged leadership is the primary driver of a healthy safety culture; and Niall led us through the journey of the creation of Safer Together through to today, closing his presentation with Safer Together’s Founding Principles.

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NOW:  We must understand where we are now.

Sue McCarrey (Chief Executive Officer, NOPSEMA), with her pre-record video presentation ‘The Regulator’s View’ started the discussion of ‘Now’ by reminding us of NOPSEMA’s role as it applies to the safety of everyone in our industry, and how they are using data to identify areas requiring attention going forward.  She asked the room to consider “How do you keep your workers safe?’ and reminded delegates that the Health Safety Environment Representatives (HSERs) are the eyes and ears on the ground.  Sue also highlighted the growing focus of mental health as a safety measure.

With his presentation ‘Personal Reflections on Safety’, Breydon Lonnie (Vice President North-West Shelf, Woodside) presented the Forum’s Safety Moment “Remembering Michael Jurman”, a review of the recent fatal incident at the North Rankin Complex; still fresh in everyone’s mind.

For another presentation in the theme of ‘Now’, Neville Carrington (Executive Advisor, INPEX) presented “Current State of Play”, by outlining our current safety performance and challenges, and looking to how we are responding. 

Following an overview of safety statistics, global and local (Australia), Neville took a moment to look at what is required of our industry in response to an increasing number of incidents. 

We must continue to engage our workforce, concentrating on workplace culture, worker competence and frontline leadership; we must continue to share learnings and best-practice, and closing by suggesting focussing attention on:

  • Line of Fire
  • Psychosocial Risks and Hazards
  • Process Safety
  • Safe Systems of Work
  • Frontline HSER Engagement
  • Industry Safety Induction
  • Learning Event Bulletins
  • Assist and Assure
  • Frontline Leadership Training
  • Common Industry Competencies Specification
  • Safety Culture Framework

Jeremy returned to introduce our ‘Making it Real’ Case Study sessions:

  1. Brayden Crain and Jacob Manning from Contract Resources, with their presentation on our most popular and effective sharing initiative, Learning Event Bulletins.
  2. John O’Brien and Steve White from Monadelphous, hosting their experience deploying Assist and Assure, presented by Blair Hart (HSB Resources).
  3. Melissa Day (Arrow Energy)  delivered a brief presentation and workshop on behalf of our Health Working Group, to gather some feedback about what activities should be considered in the development of our On-Site Accommodation Psychological Health & Safety Guideline.

NEXT:  What Safer Together will be doing in 2024 and beyond as we launch our next Strategic Safety Plan

Our HSERs play a vital role in our industry, and they deserve recognition and active engagement from industry leadership. 

In the morning prior to the Industry Safety Forum, we held our HSER Forum, and we took the opportunity at the ISF to share a summary of HSER Forum feedback with Senior Leaders in attendance.  Helen Reid hosted a discussion panel of the mornings’ cherry-picked HSERs, Ryan Pillar (Monadelphous), Blake Marino (Monadelphous) and Philippa Lally (Shell).  Forum feedback and requests from HSERs included:

  • A need for a greater focus on psychological wellbeing on the frontline,
  • HSERs would like more time to dedicate to the role,
  • Speaking up and stopping the job is still viewed as risky behaviour by some team members across our industry (there is room for improvement and learning here).

Helen then opened the floor to a Q&A session for the HSER panel – giving Senior Leaders the opportunity for a direct line of communication to their frontline workforce.

Again, looking forward - Jeremy returned to host another Panel session, “What does our industry look like in 5 years” with Deborah Peach (Executive General Manager, Cleanaway) and Sander Stegenga (Vice President Non-Operated Venture, Shell) both bringing their experienced perspective to this discussion about our industry in this timeframe:

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Having discussed some key considerations and assumptions about our industry’s future, Jeremy returned to introduce delegates to Safer Together’s next 2024-2026 Strategic Safety Plan.

Gemma Mackett (Director, PCM Group) then took the pulpit with a reminder about the events conducted by Safer Together throughout the year that are available to all our members; workshops, incident review panels, ‘lunch and learns’ and forums. 

She then invited Phil Reid (Vice President – Change Integration | Australian Operations, Woodside) and Neville Carrington to the stage for a good-humoured token of recognition for their services to safety on behalf of everyone in our industry.

With that, Jeremy wrapped up the day: “We must remain steadfast in nurturing a culture where every individual, regardless of their background, feels seen, heard, respected, and valued, where psychosocial concerns are addressed with the same urgency as physical risks, and where our collective diversity of thought continues to be our industry's compass, steering us away from hazards and toward solutions.”

We are Stronger and Safer Together.