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Stanwell Corporation Limited

Category seven – Best demonstrated leadership in work health and safety

Stanwell has successfully created a workplace culture that reduces stigma around mental health and encourages workers to open up. Stanwell’s leadership play an active, visible role in the success of its health and wellbeing program which is built on a high level of trust with workers though coaching, mateship and connectedness.

Each morning a leader will share a personal story related to Stanwell’s values (We Care, We Adapt, We Deliver) with the team leaders’ group. These stories are then shared amongst the work groups. This personal approach has a been big part of breaking down stigma, by making these conversations a part of Stanwell’s day to day activities.

Counsellors attend pre-start meetings and are available for informal conversations with field staff to connect workers with suitable services. Additionally, field-based leaders are trained to go beyond asking ‘Are you Okay?’ and recognise signs and symptoms when someone may need to be connected. This front-end approach creates an environment where people feel comfortable to speak up and leaders feel comfortable to reach out.

Some of the other initiatives include:

  • maintaining existing alliances with Mates in Energy and Benestar
  • coaching conversations: using the power of open questions to tackle burnout and stress
  • mateship: social events during work and break times to build comradery and understanding.

While working in the energy and construction industries, across remote sites, with FIFO/DIDO workers, Stanwell have found effective solutions to prioritise and address mental health.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 231MB)

Owen Bevan, Health and Safety Manager

My name is Owen Bevan. I'm the Health and Safety Manager at the Tarong Power Station, and we work for Stanwell Corporation Limited. Stanwell provides electricity to the Queensland market and the national electricity market. Directly, we employ 700 people, indirectly 400, and during our shut programs, up to 600 additional workers. Due to COVID, we'd identified that many workers would be away from home for up to six months. We had three back-to-back outages, and we wanted to ensure that people had the right access to mental health programs. This involved education programs, coaching programs, and also having a visible mental health professional out in the field, making direct contact with workers proactively. The risk we identified was that people weren't utilizing our traditional EAP service, which is like a telephone line where people go for help. So, what we thought we would do is develop a system which would see front-end access to mental health services. Rather than waiting for an event to happen and parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we wanted to prevent people getting to the cliff at all. And our solution became six parts. There was an education, coaching and approachability piece. We developed a purposeful leadership program where leaders were in the field conducting coaching conversations. Our leaders on the sharp wore speaking shirts. These were slightly different coloured shirt to regular, and this allowed workers to identify someone to go up to and have a chat with. Once we could increase the level of conversation, we knew that we would reduce the stigma around mental health and increase participation. The benefit of having the mental health practitioners in the field was amazing. This initiative has broad applications across a variety of industries. Already, we've seen elements of our program adopted by the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where 115 businesses have signed up to participate in their SMILE Program. Also, we've shared our learnings with the Queensland Generators Safety Forum, and right across the generation industry, we're seeing a willingness to participate and to adopt some of these modules to increase the awareness of mental health in the workplace. In reflection, the program gives me a high level of satisfaction. I'm an advocate for regional development and rural health, and mental health is a stigma. We, as people from the bush, don't really wanna speak about it, but when we do, we wanna speak face to face. And, when I look back on the program and know that we've changed people's lives, I just carry pride.