At October's HSER Forum in Darwin, we tried something a little different – it’s not often that HSERs have an opportunity for their concerns to be heard directly by our industry safety leaders AND industry regulators.

In the morning of the HSER Forum, we had a hidden agenda during the Helping Hands exercise; we were looking for two HSERs with the ability to present and represent the thoughts of HSERs and the findings from two surveys at the afternoon’s Industry Safety Forum (ISF).

During the activity, two HSERs in attendance stood out - Katie Latimore (Operations Technician and HSER, Santos) and Isaac Kennedy (Marine Technician and HSER, Shell Prelude).

We asked these two HSERs if they would be willing to present findings from the Safety Culture Survey (SCS) being conducted at the Forum on behalf their fellow HSERs at the ISF later that day. And both very generously (and bravely!) accepted.

“The Helping Hands exercise was really good,” Katie said. “It’s horrible to see what happens to people when they lose the use of their limbs.  The prosthetic limb exercise was a lot of fun, I enjoyed getting to know other people at the table, and it was for a good cause!

“I’ll be taking this back to my team as I think they will really enjoy it too.”

Katie - who has been working in our industry for 15 years (acting as HSER for 4 of those years) found the discussions around mental health in our industry particularly useful, “the discussions were helpful, particularly around mental health, I’m looking forward to taking that back to my team – I’m really looking forward to bringing that up with them.”

"Justine McGillivray’s (Principal Inspector - Mental Health and Wellbeing, DMIRS) presentation regarding psychological safety was a new one for me; we’ve all dealt with mental health, it’s a prevalent topic to deal with on daily basis.  It was interesting to hear how she discussed this. Highlighted the different perspectives and how it’s managed.” added Isaac, a 6-year industry veteran (HSER for 3).

It was a unique experience for our HSERs to be in the room with representatives of regulatory bodies, with Katie mentioning “being able to engage directly with HSER regulators - is something we wouldn’t normally get to do.  It was great to have the 3 regulators in the room (NT Worksafe, DMIRS & NOPSEMA), being able to ask them questions, seeing what they had to say, and the presentation with the changes that have happened since COVID particularly - we would never normally get to have that kind of engagement with them, to ask questions about what’s going on in the industry, and see what their concerns were as well; so it was great".

Following a lunch break, in a demonstration of the real-time availability of the results of the SCS, Katie and Isaac then backed up at the afternoon's ISF, presenting the findings of the morning's SCS on behalf of their HSER peers to the 150+ ISF delegates.

HSER delegates conducted the Safety Culture Survey for a safety pulse-check for a cross-section of industry – we wanted to know what are the issues HSERs are seeing ‘on the ground’ industry-wide.

ISF representatives were busy taking notes and hanging off every word as Katie and Isaac gave a rare insight into what the HSERs are seeing and experiencing on the front line. 

ISF delegates noted the HSERs concern about the impact of maintenance deferred (during COVID) may have on safety.  More detailed results from the SCS and the HSER and Menti poll will be shared with Safety Leaders Group to guide their 2023 planning.

Isaac said that “presenting the poll was a challenge”, and Katie felt “it was good to see that other HSERs are struggling with the same issues that we are - particularly around mental health”.

We can’t say thank you enough to our these two wonderful HSERs for stepping up to represent their peers; with both really enjoying the whole Forum experience, Katie saying “being able to talk to other HSERs from other organisations who I wouldn’t normally get to network with, and to see that they are discussing the same things that we are across industry – and I’ve had a crash course in presentation from Safer Together today – I’m very excited to share those results.”

To receive an invitation to future HSER Forums, email:  [email protected].