What a difference a month can make!  We’re definitely now working on different things, and in a different way.  But then, who isn’t?  So…what’s changed at Safer Together since the arrival of COVID-19?

Importantly, we are working with APPEA to support our Industry to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Key  aspects of our response include:

  • Our COVID-19 micro-site has become a platform for sharing, based on the APPEA COVID-19 protocols.
  • Acting as a delivery partner to help organisations working in the industry to respond to COVID-19.  If you are seeking a resource that you are unable to find, or need assistance in clarifying the existing content of the COVID-19 site, let us know how we can help by contacting us at [email protected].
  • Our communication resources to help you implement a workforce information and education program about COVID-19.  The ‘Play Your Part’ Campaign reminds us that each and every person in our industry has an important part to play in helping to stop the spread of the virus. When you do all these things you’re protecting yourself, your family and friends, your job, the broader community, and the supply of energy to all Australians.

Our Industry’s response is focused on ensuring that our workforce remains safe and healthy.  It means that our Industry does not adversely impact the health of the community that we operate in.  It will also mean that we maintain operations, business continuity and energy supply.

However, despite the distractions and difficulties posed by COVID-19, we cannot take our eye of the ball when it comes to safety.  Now, more than ever, we need to work together to “keep it in the pipe”. 

At Safer Together, we continue to support our Industry to simplify, standardise and share when it comes to safety.  As such, during March and April as COVID-19 loomed ever larger, Safer Together:

  • Published toolbox talk materials on the 15th anniversary of the Texas City disaster (March 23) and the 10th anniversary of The Macondo (Deepwater Horizon) incident (April 20).  These materials reminded us of the lessons learnt from these events, and encouraged us to reflect on the importance of process safety.
  • Conducted a DCIIRP event in Brisbane on March 4.  Bringing 80 people together to share lessons learnt from incidents and to discuss safety innovations seems like something from a different reality.  That was less than 6 weeks ago!

While it is true that response to COVID-19 has been very far from business as usual, our Industry’s focus on safety has been exemplified by an ongoing commitment to Safer Together.  As an Industry, we have continued to prioritise the time, effort and energy to progress Safer Together initiatives and implement Safer Together programs. 

Our Safety Leaders Groups (SLGs) continue to meet regularly.  With only a few exceptions, our Working Groups are maintaining their normal operating rhythm.  We’re all getting used to the peculiarities of video conferencing.  Remembering to change out of our pyjamas to attend meetings poses difficulties for some of us.  But we’re still coming together.  This is a testament to the dedication of the people in all of these Groups.  Our Industry is fortunate to have these people, and they are to be commended.

Milestones during March and April were:

Some things, however, have changed dramatically.  We’ve needed to cancel some events and postpone others.  We’ve taken the decision to pause some of our 2020 Work Plans, and revisit them in the second half of 2020.  Click here for more information.

As April draws to a close we are now working with APPEA to finalise a Wellbeing framework to address new challenges posed by the Industry’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.  These challenges include changing shift patterns and the psychological impacts of working in isolation.

Fortunately, COVID-19 will not be with us forever.  As we move through the 2nd quarter of this year we will begin to plan for life on the other side of this crisis.  Late last year the SLG approved a new Statement of Commitment that will update and refresh our current Mission and Vision.  Our pre-COVID-19 plan was to re-define our strategic safety plan based on this new Statement of Commitment.  Prior to COVID-19 we saw this as an important exercise.  Post COVID-19 it will be essential.  We’ve got to be ‘ahead of the game’ as we transition back to business as usual.  Ironically, leveraging many of the adaptations we have made during the era of COVID-19 may very well prove to be the drivers of post COVID-19 success.