Energy and medical research experts to share Covid-19 safety lessons at IChemE Hazards conference

Article by Adam Duckett

(L-R) Peter Harcus, David Harrison and David Bird

ICHEME has announced that process safety experts from the energy and medical research sectors will discuss the challenges faced dealing with Covid-19, at the Institution’s coming Hazards Australasia conference.

David Bird, Senior Vice President Production Operations at natural gas supplier Santos; Peter Harcus, General Manager Gas Distribution Asset Management at Jemena Gas Network; and David Harrison, Head of Laboratory Operations and Facilities Support at the Burnet Institute, will present at Hazards Australasia from 10–11 November in Melbourne. The theme for this year’s conference is “Process safety in uncertain times”.

Bird, who is responsible for operations across the Santos portfolio of onshore and offshore gas, and oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) assets, will share his thoughts on how the company has coped from a process safety management perspective during the pandemic.

Harcus will discuss the risks and impact of the pandemic upon Jemena’s energy networks during lockdown, and the risk management lessons the company has learned.

Harrison will discuss the safety challenges around low-likelihood, high-consequence activities related to handling infectious agents, with a specific focus on Covid-19 and HIV. He will also look at how the Burnet Institute has continued Covid-19 related research activities during lockdown. 

Trish Kerin, conference committee chair and Director of the IChemE Safety Centre, said: “We are delighted to welcome David Bird, Peter Harcus and David Harrison to join us at this year’s conference. They each bring a wealth of expertise and are supporting our efforts to share technical knowledge and lessons that our community of chemical engineers can learn from and apply in their operations to improve safety management for the betterment of everyone in society.”

“I’m excited to learn from them on how they’ve managed safety during the pandemic and their solutions to support efforts in reducing the risk and effects of Covid-19.”

The deadline to submit papers for the conference is 12 April. Find out more and register online at

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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