Lydia Gunston has been an integral member of the Tarong team for over 22 years. Today, she is the Senior Occupational Health Nurse at Tarong power stations, and her team plays a vital role in ensuring the health and safety of our people. We caught up with Lydia to talk about her role with Stanwell and her career highlights so far.
Lydia’s career began in the operating theatre and emergency room of Rockhampton Base Hospital, where she worked as a registered nurse.
Following various casual stints as an Occupational Health Nurse at different locations in Central Queensland, Lydia eventually landed on a role with Tarong power stations in 1997, where she continues to work today as the Senior Occupational Health Nurse.
Along with fellow Occupational Health Nurse Annette Gentry, Lydia is based in Tarong but is recognised as a valuable resource across Stanwell Corporation, providing services to all sites.
Lydia and her team play a vital part in supporting Stanwell’s health and wellbeing policies, namely our Zero Harm Today commitment, which prioritises the safety of our people above all else.
“Having in-house Occupational Health Nurses means we have ownership of our safety standards and procedures and we are able to adapt quickly. It also means we’re available to all levels of the workforce, including contractor staff,” Lydia said.
The Senior Occupational Health Nurse role is wide-ranging with many responsibilities. Day-to-day it can involve health surveillance and first aid training for our sites, implementation of health and safety programs, emergency injury management, general health advice and much more.
“It can depend on where I am, but on-site can involve the treatment of work-related injuries and the management of any non-work related injuries as well,” Lydia said.
“It can involve providing advice and following up and supporting any rehabilitation cases we may have, and sometimes it’s as simple as listening to people who just need to have a chat.”
While her role is rewarding in a variety of ways, Lydia believes it’s the people that make it worth coming in each day.
“The support given to me by my team, health and safety teams at all the sites, my managers, the broader leadership team, our Chief Executive Officer and all the sites is amazing. Having such a great relationship with these people makes my job a lot easier and gives me great satisfaction in my role,” she said.
“I also love the diversity my role provides and the multiple areas of work it involves. The ability to become involved in a case and be there for the entire journey is really rewarding.”
When thinking back on some of the key accomplishments during her career, a few immediately come to mind for Lydia that she’s particularly proud of.
She assisted with the introduction of a Rehabilitation and Return to Work Program before it was a legislative requirement to do so and continues to run the flu vaccination program across all sites, each year.
During her time working at what was then known as Tarong Energy, Lydia also helped with the introduction of Automatic External Defibrillators to all sites to ensure an easily accessible response to cardiac arrest was available, which resulted in a life being saved on-site.
“The fact we had a unit on site, and employees trained in the use of the unit, meant an employee’s life was saved when they suffered cardiac arrest at their desk,” Lydia said.
With the South Burnett not having a major trauma facility close by to the Tarong Power Station, having Occupational Health Nurses on-site has also made a considerable difference in the outcomes of some injuries, Lydia said.
“I have been involved in treating some serious injuries during my time as the Occupational Health Nurses, but thankfully we had the appropriate emergency equipment and procedures to provide the best treatment possible until handing over to Queensland Ambulance Service or retrieval teams,” she said.
“I have been lucky that management has always supported the nurses with getting us everything we need to treat people correctly.
“I have also been lucky to be supported by Annette Gentry, a fellow Occupational Health Nurse at Tarong, and our contract casual nurses. It is because of their support that we can achieve great things – it is very much a team effort.”