23 October 2023

2023 Safehaven Conference best attended yet

On 10 October, Whitehaven held its annual Safehaven Conference with participants once again leaving the event feeling inspired and equipped with valuable insights.

The conference was the biggest in the event’s 9-year history, bringing together over 250 attendees, with approximately 30% of them contract partners representing 50 different companies. Video highlights capturing the enthusiastic and collaborative atmosphere on the day can be viewed here.

The event, which focused on safety, leadership, and mental fitness, was expertly guided by MC Jason Nunn (EGM Marketing), whose engaging performance captivated the audience throughout the day. Jason delivered not only his role as MC but also imparted a valuable lesson on building confidence in challenging and sometimes chaotic situations.

A key feature of Safehaven each year is the involvement of Whitehaven’s Board and Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Managing Director and CEO, Paul Flynn, and EGM Operations, Ian Humphris, and EGM Health, Safety and Environment, Sarah Withell, were among the speakers on the day, while a raft of Board and ELT members participated in the collaborative sessions with our on-the-ground operations teams throughout the event.

One of the conference’s standout moments was Gus Worland’s powerful and inspirational talk. Gus shared his personal journey and his unwavering passion for fostering mental fitness. He tackled the difficult topic of suicide with exceptional insight and offered practical and effective ways to strengthen mental resilience.

Sarah Withell, Whitehaven’s EGM Health, Safety & Environment, praised the outstanding quality of presenters and the participation from attendees.

“The success of a conference hinges on year-long event planning and the active engagement and contributions of attendees on the day, and this year’s participants exceeded our expectations,” added Sarah.

“Their valuable insights and shared experiences were instrumental in making this conference a success.”

During the conference, Whitehaven took the opportunity to highlight the company’s successes and challenges, reinforcing its strategic focuses of Alignment and Consistency; Continuous Improvement, and Cultivating a Culture of Trust. This final point was reinforced by an informative presentation from Jon Chan who explained Whitehaven’s approach to building a psychologically safe workplace, including the significance of simple gestures like a handshake.

Leadership was another significant theme of the conference. The importance of effective leadership on positive health and safety outcomes was exemplified by exceptional presenters. Rachael Robertson shared her remarkable leadership story, “Leading on the Edge,” offering real-life examples of how we can all lead without a title in the harshest and most isolated environment on Earth, Antarctica.

Dr. Sean Brady and Jodi Goodall delved into the practices of leaders in high-reliability organisations, providing practical insights and real-world examples.

The conference actively engaged participants through open and candid discussions with an expert panel. Attendees also provided input through SLIDO, an interactive tool that enabled Whitehaven to gather real-time feedback to inform its Health, Safety, and Environment Business Plan.

While reflecting on the success of this year’s conference and beginning the planning for Safehaven 2024, Sarah Withell said, “the Whitehaven Safehaven Conference serves as a crucial platform for bringing together leaders and experts in Health, Safety and Environmental leadership.”

“It underscores the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange to drive positive change within our industry. We look forward to another great event in 2024.”


Photos from the event can be viewed here.

For more information about Whitehaven’s Safehaven Conference, please contact Andrew Denovan.


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