Boosting our mental fitness during complex overhaul work

11 November 2020

Since September, our team at Tarong power stations has been undertaking an intense overhaul program, to ensure the reliable supply of electricity over the coming summer period. This includes the recently completed Tarong Power Station Unit 2 overhaul and the Tarong North Power Station overhaul, currently underway.

Preparing and undertaking a major overhaul is challenging at the best of times but add in a global pandemic and logistically it becomes even more complex.

Recognising the challenges faced by employees and more than 550 specialist contractors who relocated to the South Burnett for both overhauls, our site Health and Safety team and the Health and Wellbeing Committee established a mental health fitness program.

Tarong Health and Safety Manager, Owen Bevan, said ensuring people were connected and supported was a priority, given many people working across both overhauls were separated from their home and loved ones for a significant period.

“From the get-go, we emphasised that not only is physical safety our number one priority for the overhauls, but mental safety and wellbeing was just as important,” Owen said.

“We knew this overhaul program was going to be extremely different to past outages, due to the nature of 2020, so recognising and strengthening the preventative side of the mental health outcomes was as important as being prepared to support those who may be suffering from mental ill-health.

“As part of our mental health fitness program, we’ve implemented several initiatives and support mechanisms to help our workforce,” he said.

Stanwell is providing people with the right tools and people to support them and identify any issues early, through platforms like Mates in Energy and Stanwell’s employee assistance program, Benestar.

Other initiatives in the mental fitness program include:

  • Mates in Energy field-based connectors on the ground interacting with the workforce.
  • Personalised fatigue management plans to account for individuals and family requirements have been developed.
  • Social events during break times and on weekends to build comradery and importantly, have some fun and take time out.
Bunyarra Counselling and Mediation Director, Michael Sanford, taking the team through a spotlight on wellbeing session.

Site Services Manager, Scott Tucker, said another success for the program was the Bunyarra Counselling and Mediation spotlight on wellbeing sessions.”

“In partnership with Bunyarra, a Kingaroy based organisation, we’ve been offering sessions to promote wellbeing, and a mentally healthy and positive work environment,” Scott said.

“It’s been great to see so many employees and contractors involve themselves in these sessions. We’re gaining a helpful suite of tools to notice, respond and support our workmates who may be going through a tough time.

“You never know what is going on below the surface, everyone has a story and the statistics tell us that we can’t always wait for someone to come forward for help.

“Being proactive and engaging in mental health conversations is vital.

“Conversations provide an opportunity to learn from others and, where required, encourage people to seek out appropriate support,” he said.

By supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our people and contractors there is an opportunity to foster a more engaged and productive workforce with a greater sense of meaning and purpose in and outside of the workplace. Stanwell will adapt our strategic approach to mental health and wellness for other sites and future overhauls.