Frequently asked questions about Safer Together WA/NT

Safer Together WA/NT – what is it?

Q: What is Safer Together WA/NT?

Safer Together WA/NT is a not-for-profit, member-led organisation of Operator Companies and Contract Partner Companies committed to building upon  the leadership and collaboration towards a strong and consistent safety culture in the WA/NT Oil and Gas industry, and improved safety outcomes.

Q: Where did it come from?

Following an APPEA CEO Forum recommendation (October 2017) to review the current approach to safety collaboration in WA, a pilot WA/NT senior leader working group was formed. 

This working group framed a proposal for future industry collaboration across the WA/NT Oil and Gas value chain. 

The proposal was to adopt a successful model of collaboration based on Safer Together in Queensland.  This proposal received unanimous support by senior leaders at the APPEA CEO Forum in October 2017.

Q: Why is it needed?

The WA/NT Oil and Gas Industry has expanded significantly in recent years with several new Gas and LNG facilities having commenced or about to commence production. 

The changing risk profile from construction to operations creates an opportunity to collaborate to enhance the industry reputation as a Safe, Reliable energy provider.

With a solid history of sharing in Safety, the opportunity is to build upon the existing collaboration to simplify and standardise safety implementation across the WA/NT industry in service of the operators, but mostly for contract personnel that support our operations.

Q: How is it governed?

Safer Together WA/NT is a not-for-profit Association, and will be incorporated with a dedicated secretariat to support the industry working groups.

A  Safety Leaders Group (SLG) of approximately 15 Industry leaders, capable of allocating operating resources for their company will  steer the activities of the working groups.

Working Groups will be formed under the SLG to plan, coordinate and deliver  the activities.

Q: Why do you think this is going to work? Has it been done before?

This model is successfully applied by Safer Together Queensland since 2014. 

Similar models operate in other parts of the world (e.g. Step Change in Safety – UK; Oil Sands Safety Association – Canada).   This is not a new concept – we know it can work, but only if there is genuine commitment by all stakeholders.  We can also learn much from the Industry sectors that have adopted similar models in Australian and overseas.

Q: How is it different to Safer Together Qld?

Safer Together WA/NT and Safer Together Qld are two Chapters of Safer Together which are each individually accountable for delivering benefits to their members according to their respective Constitutions. 

Collaboration between these independently operated Chapters of Safer Together will assist both Chapters in meeting their objectives through the pooling of resources and leveraging additional international resources of member companies.

A set of collaboration principles have been developed by both Chapters to enable effective collaboration between groups, and to keep the groups aligned.

Q: Isn’t this just another talk-fest?

No.  This will be driven by a group of senior leaders of each participating company, capable of allocating resources.  It is line-led, not HSE-led. 

Bi-annual Industry Safety Forum events will be held, including the working groups, Senior Leaders from each company, and key Stakeholders from industry associations

Our intention is not to create another layer of industry conferences and meetings.  The SLG intends that ultimately, the bi-annual Safer Together Industry Safety Forum event will be the only senior management-led contractor safety forum within the WA/NT Industry, to improve safety performance.

Q: You can’t solve everything at once.  What will you focus your efforts on?

As one of its first tasks, the SLG will develop a Strategic Safety Plan for the Industry over the next 3 years (2018 – 2020).  At the AOG Launch Event, we will ask prospective member companies for their ideas about the things that we should tackle first.  Their responses will be collated and considered by the SLG when developing the Strategic Safety Plan.  The SLG has also committed to implementing initiatives that have already been developed by the Qld Chapter of Safer Together, before deciding to develop anything new.

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges you face and how do you intend to overcome them?

  • Build a Community of Leaders who are motivated to make this work.  Open dialogue, inclusivity and frequent communication are how we will tackle this challenge.
  • Managing expectations, where we implement what is already available before we create ‘new’ activities.
  • Managing to avoid ‘Tweaking’ work already completed by Safer Together QLD.
  • Ensure that the Working Groups deliver within a reasonable period of time, practical, effective solutions that have industry-wide application.  Recruiting the right people for these Groups, setting clear and deliverables-focused expectations of each Group, and regular monitoring and oversight by the SLG are how we will tackle this challenge.
  • Maintain alignment across member companies - to free up resources within their company to be active and regular participants in the Working Groups, and to commit to implementing within each member company the processes/tools that the Working Groups develop.  The personal commitment of senior leaders within each member company is the key to how we will tackle this challenge.

Q: How will you communicate with the wider WA/NT Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry community?

Safer Together WA/NT will be launched at the AOG Conference in Perth on March 14-16, 2018. 

The SLG members have engaged with Operator and contractor companies and with the Volunteer Industry Safety Forums in order to gain input and communicate the case for change, and next steps.

The second  phase of our Communications Plan is focused building membership and populating working groups.

The next phase of our Communications Plan will engage further with key Industry stakeholders including Government bodies, regulators, industry representative companies across WA/NT.

Our website will be a key communications tool that will make it easier to share information with all members and also the wider industry community.

Q: What will happen to existing Voluntary Sharing Groups (e.g. SafeOps; DrillSafe; Land Logistics Safe; Offshore Project Safe; MarineSafe; etc.)?

The SLG have engaged with the Volunteer Industry Forums, to provide an overview of the new model and describe the opportunity provided by the new model, including funding and secretariat service in order to provide additional capability for implementation, building upon the current sharing.

The SLG have committed to fund the new model, and it is expected that current forums will have the opportunity to evolve and/or participate into working groups in the new model to benefit from the funding and focus provided.


Membership – who can become a member and what are the benefits?

Q: Who can become a member?

Membership is open to all Operator Companies and Contract Partner companies that have a genuine interest in promoting improved safety outcomes and  as part of its ordinary business participates in the Oil and Gas Industry or provides support to those participating in the Industry.

Members are expected to freely share their Intellectual Property relating to safety.  As such, training providers and safety consultancies are not eligible for membership.

With Operating Companies, it’s important to engage all companies with Oil and Gas Exploration and Production activities in WA/NT (not just the major WA/NT proponent companies).

With regard to Contract Partner Companies, we focus on companies that are likely to play a long-term role in the development of the Industry (not just during the Construction Phase) and that provide services which pose a relatively high level of inherent safety risk. 

Most importantly, we want to build long-term partnerships with those companies which are aligned with our Industry’s safety vision and strategy.

“Together, develop a safer oil and gas exploration and production industry in WA/NT”

Q: Why aren’t other stakeholders invited to become members?

This is a new model of engagement for our Industry in WA/NT.  We think that it’s important to focus first on bringing together the Operating Companies and Contract Partner Companies, to begin building the process and to get initial momentum.  Our intention is to engage other stakeholders and encourage them to join in due course, but not yet.

Q: What are the benefits of membership?  Why should I join?

Membership gives your company the opportunity to drive the Industry’s safety agenda through involvement in bi-annual Industry Safety Forums, the Safety Leaders Group and Working Groups.  You can decide and influence how we move our Industry forward over the coming years and decades.

Members will have access to the tools and materials developed by all Safer Together Chapters (i.e. WA/NT and Qld).  Members of the WA/NT Chapter may request an invitation for a representative to attend the Qld Chapter’s Industry Safety Forum event.

Q: What are the implications for my company if we decide not to become a member?  Do we really have a choice?

Alignment of our companies is good for building long-term partnerships.

Safer Together will develop industry-wide solutions that will eventually become the standard for our Industry. 

The more companies involved, the better the alignment and safety outcomes.

Members are not obliged to continue their membership from one year to the next.

Q: Can I be a member of both Safer Together Chapters (i.e. WA/NT and Qld)?

Yes.  We realise that some member Companies will want to drive the safety agenda in both Chapters (i.e. serve on the SLG and Working Groups).  As such, companies can choose to become members of both Chapters.


Fees – what will it cost me to be a member?

Q: What will it cost me to be a member?

We have published a schedule of fees for 2018.

Q: How did you decide the membership fees?

The membership fee structure is tailored to revenue, and thus heavier burden is with larger companies, and generally the Operators. The organisation is not-for profit, therefore fees will be set to cover activity.

The fees reflect the costs required for the secretariat, and the work program defined by the work groups and approved by the SLG.

Refer to the website for 2018 Fees.

Q: Will annual membership fees remain at the same level from one year to the next?

Our intention is to minimise variation in annual fees after the first year.  The proposed fees for 2019 will be tabled and discussed with the SLG during the Work Planning and budgeting cycle at the end of 2018, and each year thereafter. 

Q: Why are you asking Contract Partner Companies to contribute to the costs?  Why don’t the Operating Companies pay for this?

During discussions held by the senior leaders working group to frame the WA/NT Safer Together initiative, the contracting community indicated a clear desire for a more collaborative approach to developing safety improvements.  

This is not a service provision, it is a collaboration partnership to safer outcomes.

If we can get this right, all of our companies – Operators and Contractors alike – will benefit.

Q: Do the larger companies who pay higher membership fees get more for their membership than the smaller companies who pay less?

No.  Members are divided into categories solely for the purpose of determining the annual fee to be paid.  Members rank equally in all other respects. 

Q: Besides paying our annual membership fee, what else is my company expected to do if we decide to become a member?

You can decide to participate as much, or as little as you wish.  But members will get more value out of the process the more they put in.  Some member companies may decide that their involvement will be limited only to attending the 2 major Forums we plan to hold each year.  But we want all member companies to consider getting actively involved in the various Working Groups – we need a critical mass of the right type of people in each of these Groups to make them effective.

Most importantly all members will be expected to support and promote what Safer Together is aiming to achieve, and to implement the industry-wide tools and processes that are developed by safer Together.

Q: How much time should we allow if we join one of the Groups?

The SLG will meet every second month, with meetings in Perth and some in Darwin. The Working Groups will meet monthly and use technology to link as required.

It is essential that members commit to attending the scheduled meetings, and that the same person attends each time.


SLG Members – who are they and how are they selected?

Q: How were the original SLG members selected?  Why select particular companies and not others?

After the APPEA CEO Forum in October 2017, we realised that we needed to progress a new model of collaboration quickly to maintain momentum. A coalition of the willing was derived largely from the ‘Symphony’ opportunity and senior leaders from who indicated their energy and support at the October APPEA CEO Forum.

This was just to get the process started, and the group has since expanded to include more of the value chain.

These leaders represent companies who collectively provide a broad cross-section of different services to the industry (e.g. logistics; operations and maintenance and Drilling is to be represented).

Q: How will you select additional members to sit on the SLG?

A moratorium on selecting further members to sit on the SLG is now in place until after the formal launch of Safer Together WA/NT.  Nominations will be sought from companies who become members of Safer Together WA/NT.  These nominations will be considered by the SLG Co-Chairs, who are responsible for selecting the additional members and submitting their recommendations to the SLG for endorsement.  Selection criteria includes:

  • The person represents a member company of Safer Together WA/NT
  • The person is of a suitably senior position within their company
  • The type of company and its characteristics is not represented on the SLG, or is under-represented
  • The individual demonstrates a passion and commitment for Safety

Q: If my company’s nominee isn’t selected to sit on the SLG, will we get the opportunity to nominate again at a later date?

Yes.  The draft SLG Charter proposes a nominal term of 2 years for SLG representatives, after which we anticipate 50% of the members will be rotated.  The Queensland experience indicates a continual turnover of SLG representatives as normal in the Oil and Gas Industry.  As positions become vacant, the Co-Chairs review existing nominations to fill the vacancy.


Board Members – how are they selected?

Q: How were the original Board members selected?

The Association’s Constitution provides for promoters of the Association to appoint the first Board.  As such, the first Board was appointed by the SLG in February 2018.  

Under the Constitution, a Board election will be held at each Annual General Meeting.  The first Annual General Meeting is expected to be conducted in September 2018.


Working Groups – how are members selected and what do they do?

Q: How are Working Group members selected?

Each Working Group will be appointed with 2 Co-Champions drawn from the SLG (ideally one Operator and one Contract Partner).

Working Group members will be nominated by their company.  We will be seeking Working Group nominations at the AOG Launch Event.  Nominations will be reviewed by Working Group Co-Champions who will select Working Group members on the basis of their Industry expertise/experience and/or their position to contribute to Working Group initiatives that will be able to be implemented in the field.  Ideally Working Groups will comprise between 12 – 15 members and will reflect the ethos that the work is line-led, not HSE-led.

Q: How did you decide the Working Group topics?

The SLG reviewed the Qld Chapter’s Working Group structure and compared it to the risks faced in the WA/NT Industry.  It was decided to adopt the Qld Working Group structure, with the exception that a Marine and Aviation Working Group be added.   

Q: What will the Working Groups focus on?

The focus of the Working Groups will be:

  • Safety Leadership: support leaders to demonstrate effective and visible safety leadership and behaviours. The emphasis of the Group is on everyone, at all levels of an organisation, being a Visible Safety Leader.
  • Competence and Behaviour: define the standard of safe working behaviour that is expected of all workers in the industry.
  • Land Transport: minimise the industry’s Total Recordable Incident Frequency Rate (TRIFR) attributable to road use.
  • Process Safety: improve industry management of Major Accident Hazards.
  • Rig Site Safety: improve the industry’s drilling and completions safety performance.
  • Marine and Aviation: improve the industry’s marine and aviation safety performance.

The first item of business for the Working Groups following their formation will be to develop Charters.  Once finalised, these Charters will then inform work programs for each Group

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