It’s essential that the senior leaders of any organisation have a good appreciation of safety issues at the worksite level. With onshore operations in the Cooper Basin (South Australia) and the Surat Basin (Queensland), independent oil and gas exploration company Senex Energy has a workforce that is spread far and wide.

In many companies, people on site may be apprehensive to speak openly about their safety concerns to the senior leaders of the organisation, and senior leaders may also feel reluctant to ask particular questions that they perceive may reflect on them as being uninformed about their business.


Senior leaders from Senex Energy and Hofco Oilfield Services decided to step away from their desks to go and find out for themselves what’s happening at the worksite, and to engage the people on site in a conversation about the safety issues that relate directly to them.

Pairing together to do this enabled senior leaders from two separate companies, with different perspectives, to share their experiences and promote industry-wide learning.


Over the course of a single day, visits were made to 3 separate worksites in Senex Energy’s Western Surat Gas Project – a production operations site, a dam construction site and a rig site. Conversations were held with a range of people, including the Production Superintendent, Production Operator, Site Supervisor, Civil Works Supervisor and the Rig Manager.

The advantages of pairing with a senior leader from another company were that this brought someone with a “fresh pair of eyes” who could ask simple questions because they weren’t expected to be familiar with the day-to-day operations, and who the people on site felt comfortable talking to (because it’s much easier to have an open conversation with someone who isn’t your boss).

 “The guys on site were pleased we came away with a better understanding of what their challenges were and that we listened to what they had to say” (Chief Operating Officer, Senex)

“It’s really useful to get out there and see another company’s operations firsthand and meet their people on site. You learn a lot in one day” (Chief Executive Officer, Hofco)

Lessons Learnt

  • Prepare before you go – get a briefing so that you understand the local context and can have a more focused and useful conversation.
  • Enthusiasm is infectious – asking questions, being inquisitive and showing genuine interest in what people do will make them more likely to reciprocate, relax and share their views.
  • Promote partnership – senior leaders from different companies being on site together will open up a broader conversation with the workforce about industry collaboration.

Download the Case Study Poster here

For more information about Senex Energy click here

For more information about Hofco Oilfield Services click here

For more information about Paired Safety Leadership Tours click here

To register your interest in hosting or participating in a Paired Safety Leadership Tour, contact us at [email protected]