CPA Group has our team members deployed in some of the most remote parts of our region from the highlands of Papua New Guinea to distant Western Australia and far western Queensland.
One group of CPA Group personnel that you may not be familiar with is a team of professionals whose rotation is offshore, whether off the WA north west coast or in the Timor Sea.
An offshore facility has its own unique challenges, our team are part of a small leadership team on an extremely remote location where movement and communication are very restricted.
We spoke to Kevin Brown and Daniel Smith, two of our offshore HSEC’s.
Kevin was awarded Employee of the year in 2019!
We are accustomed to receiving great feedback from our clients but Kevin and Dan have received truly glowing client reports recently and have been critical in ensuring client satisfaction, as evidenced by the client’s recent extension of our long term contract.
We managed to find them both at the same time, on different offshore facilities so we could (virtually) meet them together!
What is your professional background? How did you come to be working offshore?
Kevin: I am a Registered Nurse, I worked initially through the hospital system, in the Emergency Department, Coronary Care and ICU. During this period I went back to university a couple of times for additional qualifications. I worked in the remote WA wilderness working with indigenous communities for a period. I then decided to work in mining and ultimately on offshore deployments
Dan: I am a registered Paramedic, I left South Africa in 2000 – I worked in the Emergency Department in Saudi Arabia and as flight medic in the UAE. My wife and I emigrated to Australia in 2006 and I commenced working in the resources sector in both mining, exploration and offshore construction.
I knew Dr Wilkinson and through Scott I did some work for CPA Group in QLD before gaining an opportunity through CPA to work in onshore and then offshore gas production industry.
What is your rotation and how long have you been working offshore?
We have been doing a ‘COVID roster’. This involves 2 weeks in isolation at designated client facilities (camp accommodation) / 4 weeks on / 2 weeks off for the past 4 months. While in isolation we were also providing mental health support in the camp. Some of the interstate personnel did not see their families for long periods due to travel restrictions.
K: I am now back on 3 weeks on / 3 off /3 on /6 off.
D: My current rotation is 3/4/3/5.
What other CPA Group sites have you worked?
K: I have worked at Darwin LNG and multiple other oil and gas facilities
D: I worked at Hay Point (QLD) when Bechtel was building the port.
What are your primary responsibilities?
Both: We are the facility operators’ primary focal point for Health, Safety and Environment including primary medical response. We are also involved in the Occupational Hygiene support for the site and have been trained in Basic Principles of OH where our duties include monitoring and sampling a range of industrial hazards including noise and vapours. We also fulfil a supporting role to the helicopter administrator onboard.
What are the unique issues when working offshore?
Both: The unique component is working with the facility leadership team, the nature of the client and their expectations. The remoteness has its positives and negatives, you switch on when you arrive and have complete focus without distraction
The job requires mental and strategic strength, at all times you need to stay on focus for yourself and others.
Communications are not an issue so you can contact and stay in touch with families and the wider world. We are able to have face time calls, have dinners (virtually) together.
What do you find most challenging or fulfilling in your role?
K: There are a lot of challenges, the key is keeping perspective, this can be a challenge in the offshore world. Taking time to set priorities, knowing what is important. The autonomy you have but with support from the team means you are respected. Our responsibilities are varied. There is a great camaraderie. Our role and the workplace are very different from the hospital environment!
D: For me, the challenge is supporting the various aspects of the operation and finding your niche to be effective given the team and business dynamics. We deal with facility management, the wider workforce but also leadership in the client’s head office and this all requires a varied approach. What I like about the job is both the autonomy and team culture, every day different queries come your way and solving those issues and providing the support – whether medical, safety or something else – is varied and fulfilling.
And what do you do in your spare time?
(We found out that both Kevin and Dan are rugby followers, enjoying the return of the Force to Super rugby)
K: I spend time with my lovely family, I go to the gym. I am a keen supporter of various sports including rugby. I like long walks on the beach. Family is a major focus as I spend so much time away from home.
D: Family time, I have one 11-year-old boy, my wife is a nurse and is studying part time so I
give her a break when I am home by spending lots of actioned packed time with my son. I think they are glad when I go offshore so they can get a break.
We love swimming, fishing, spear fishing. I am also a big fan of rugby.
We would normally ask what Dan and Kevin’s manager would say but as Samantha has recently nominated them for a MAD award, we are confident she is a strong supporter.
(Client) has asked me to pass on some sensational feedback to our senior management regarding
They have received feedback from both offshore OIMs, offshore colleagues and the senior management, stating that these two employees have gone above and beyond in their role as offshore HSECs to ensure the facilities continue to remain operational and staff onboard are fully supported. Additional wellness activities have been arranged by each of our employees during extended rotations offshore to support the mental health of staff and contractors at each facility.
The feedback they have received is not usually recognised at such a high level . I am very proud of all of our staff but particularly these two guys.