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Safety and security

Safety

Overview

A commitment to safety is a core value and an integral part of ExxonMobil’s culture. Our aim is to ensure each employee and contractor leaves work each day safe and in good health. We will never stop working toward our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt.

At ExxonMobil, our efforts to protect the safety and health of our employees, contractors and communities are fundamental to our long-term business success. We seek to promote a culture of safety and health by attracting, developing and retaining individuals who share our core values and our commitment to integrity and operational excellence.

When an accident or near miss does occur, we investigate the incident and all potential outcomes and evaluate barriers to preventing future occurrences. This emphasis on high potential provides us with opportunities to educate our global workforce on incident findings. Our workforce can access information on past incidents and apply them to the tasks they are executing, bringing knowledge from previous incidents into current work practices. 

  • Lynne Lachenmyer, Safety, security, health and environment vice president
    Lynne Lachenmyer

    Safety, security, health and environment vice president

    "I am proud of the best-ever safety performance we achieved in 2016. Even so, there is still room for improvement, and we will never stop working toward our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt."

Safety graphic - 2016 CCR

Our approach

ExxonMobil’s Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS) drives the sustainability of our disciplined approach to safety. OIMS is embedded in our everyday work and serves as the foundation for managing our risks. OIMS establishes a common framework for addressing risk across all aspects of our operations, including our supply chain. At the global corporate level, the OIMS framework is built around 11 elements, as illustrated below, each covering a key aspect of risk across the breadth of ExxonMobil’s operations. Each element is comprised of a number of expectations, 65 in all, that provide greater detail.

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we look at leading indicators that allow for a closer analysis of incidents with potentially severe consequences in order to enhance our risk prevention and mitigation. We then share incidents through our global networks to ensure lessons learned are implemented across our worldwide operations. In addition to sharing, we continually evaluate our learning process to effectively translate the information received into action. 

ExxonMobil has a comprehensive approach to developing safety leadership through the corporation to ensure corporate expectations are met while still allowing for customization based on local needs. The safety function provides technical guidance from staff at site locations to senior consultants at the corporate level. Safety is owned and executed by the business lines and is ultimately everyone’s responsibility. Learn more about safety in ExxonMobil operations.

Performance and initiatives 

Up Close: Hoover-Diana celebrates personnel and process safety success

One of the most significant measures of success for ExxonMobil is our safety performance. In 1998, ExxonMobil began working to develop the Hoover-Diana field, a deepwater oil and gas development located in the Gulf of Mexico. At the time of completion, the platform was the first floating drilling and production platform to develop two fields simultaneously at a depth of 4,800 feet of water. This engineering feat required diligent personnel and process safety management. ExxonMobil personnel have successfully completed more than 950 work-years of safe operations at the platform.

The Hoover-Diana platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Photo — The Hoover-Diana platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Personnel safety 

Overview 

ExxonMobil expects every employee and third-party contractor to identify, assess and mitigate the risks associated with our daily operations. In 2016, we achieved our best-ever safety performance. We have reduced our workforce lost-time incident rate by more than 80 percent since 2000.

Our workforce safety programs have been implemented and refined over many years of experience. We provide the tools, training and culture that allow our global workforce to execute work safely and intervene or stop work when necessary. We emphasize continuous improvement and concentrate our efforts on preventing higher potential events.

Our approach 

We conduct our business in a manner that protects the health and safety of our workforce. This is a core value and business driver, one that shapes decision-making at every level. We provide workers with the knowledge and tools to execute each work activity safely, and strive to prevent all accidents, injuries and occupational illnesses through the active participation of every employee.

We strive for effective collaboration between all workers, including third-party suppliers and contractors. Our contractors take part in safety training and safety meetings alongside our employees. A key element in our strategy for contractors is the enhancement of their leadership practices and safety management systems. Since 2000, we have conducted ongoing safety leadership forums with the contractors working on our major projects, with the focus on establishing a partnership between ExxonMobil and our contractors that leads to an injury-free workplace.

Performance and initiatives 

Since 2000, we have reduced our workforce lost-time incident rate by more than 80 percent. While this number is declining, safety incidents and near-misses do occur. We deeply regret that three contractors were fatally injured in separate incidents related to ExxonMobil operations in 2016. The incidents were related to a maintenance accident at one of our facilities, an incident at one of our onshore drilling sites and an incident aboard a marine vessel preparing to offload supplies at one of our offshore platforms. We thoroughly investigated each incident to determine contributing factors, then enhanced our work practices and facilities accordingly to help prevent future occurrences. We have processes in place to review all incidents, even those that did not result in injuries, to identify opportunities to improve. By applying this process, we continuously work toward our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt.

Lost-time incident rate
Chart — In 2016, our workforce lost-time incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.029, a decrease from the previous year. Over the past decade, we have reduced this rate by 40 percent. When compared with the American Petroleum Institute U.S. petroleum industry workforce benchmark, ExxonMobil continues to be below the industry average.

Total recordable incident rate chart*<br />
Chart — In 2016, ExxonMobil’s total recordable workforce incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.20, a slight decrease from 2015. Since 2007, we have reduced this rate by 47 percent. When compared with the American Petroleum Institute U.S. petroleum industry workforce benchmark, ExxonMobil continues to be below the industry average.

Process safety 

Overview 

ExxonMobil takes a comprehensive approach to managing process safety. Process safety refers to the equipment, procedures and training that prevent the uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons and hazardous substances. We identify then eliminate or mitigate process safety risks associated with our operations by employing structured processes and procedures that serve as preventive safeguards and help us prevent incidents.

Eliminate serious incidents

Our approach 

Collaborating with our peers and industry associations on process safety is paramount to sharing lessons learned within our company and across our industry. ExxonMobil serves as a contributing member to a variety of groups and initiatives focused on improving safety in the industry. For example, we actively engage in the Advancing Process Safety initiative, a collaborative effort between the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API), representing nearly all of the U.S. refining capacity. This initiative is focused on improving process safety performance across the industry by sharing experiences and knowledge about process safety events, hazard identification metrics and industry-proven practices.

As part of this effort, we subscribe to industry standards, including the API Recommended Practice 754 and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers No. 456 Recommended Practice. These standards define process safety indicators and use a process safety incident triangle to represent events from Tier 1 through Tier 4, as seen in the graphic below. In 2016, we experienced 64 Tier 1 process safety events, which is approximately 14 percent lower than 2015. In 2016, the majority of our Tier 1 events were related to flammable liquid and vapor releases. Tier 1 and 2 process safety events are tracked and analyzed in our overall efforts to enhance our operations and prevent similar incidents. 

Process safety incident triangle

Performance and initiatives 

ExxonMobil is committed to working with scientists and local partners to develop and commercialize technologies that enhance process safety. For example, in 2016, ExxonMobil Research Qatar, in partnership with Providence Photonics LLC, conducted field tests of a remote gas detection system in Qatar. The system provides a highly sensitive and accurate early warning of hydrocarbon leaks. We evaluated the system’s durability and performance by challenging it in various environmental conditions such as high heat and humidity, dust, sand and dense fog during the field test.

Product stewardship

Overview 

Product stewardship is a series of interconnected work processes that identify, maintain and communicate safety, health and environmental information on raw materials and products in order to comply with regulations and corporate policy. 

To manage product stewardship, we carefully assess the safety, health and environmental aspects of our products, as well as compliance with product safety legislation for all intended markets. We continually monitor developments to make sure our products comply with regulations, standards and guidelines, including:

  • United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
  • United Nations Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)

Our approach 

ExxonMobil’s approach to product safety is defined by the product safety policy, found within ExxonMobil’s Standards of Business Conduct. Components of the management systems are in line with product safety guidelines developed by IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, and the International Council of Chemical Associations. 

Performance and initiatives 

We recognize the importance of managing and communicating product safety information to those who handle and use ExxonMobil products. Our Product Stewardship Information Management System applies common global processes and computer systems to capture and communicate information on the safe handling, transport, use and disposal of our products, as well as emergency contact information.

This System enables ExxonMobil businesses to comply with changing regional and national hazard communication regulations, including the adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling Chemicals developed by the United Nations. As of year-end 2016, more than 55,000 safety data sheets for ExxonMobil products and manufacturing streams were authored and distributed as part of the implementation of this guidance by national and regional regulatory authorities in several countries. Due to the evolving nature of regulatory requirements, we continually monitor developments to make sure our products comply with applicable regulations.

Product transportation safety 

Overview 

As part of our commitment to product stewardship, we manage the safety, health and environmental aspects of transporting our products, including by marine, pipeline and rail transportation. ExxonMobil’s worldwide marine business, which involves about 500 vessels in daily service, logged more than 20,000 voyages and 45,000 port calls in 2016, safely transporting approximately 1.4 billion barrels of crude oil and refined products, without a spill to water. The ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and its affiliates safely transport almost 3 million barrels per day of crude oil, refined products and other important products. We operate approximately 4,000 miles of active pipelines in the United States every day. We carefully maintain and monitor our infrastructure worldwide to identify and prevent corrosion, third-party damage or illegal intrusions onto our rights of way.

Our approach 

Part of our commitment to product transportation safety includes responding to the changing marketplace. For example, over the past several years the United States has experienced a significant increase in the utilization of rail transport for crude oil, primarily due to new unconventional production sources. We have comprehensive risk management plans in place to help ensure rail transportation of all products is conducted in a safe manner. These plans address rail car design as well as loading and unloading procedures. Additionally, we regularly engage with our industry peers and emergency responders to promote the safe transport of oil products and develop improved training programs for public responders across North America.

Performance and initiatives 

Up Close: Improving road safety in Nigeria

According to the World Health Organization, the total number of road traffic deaths in Nigeria is more than 35,000 per year. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mobil Producing Nigeria and the Federal Road Safety Corps implemented the second phase of an ExxonMobil-supported road safety awareness campaign in 2016 that aims to foster safe driving practices and enhance overall safety among road users in Nigeria. This behavioral campaign utilizes a two-pronged approach that includes messaging on billboards as well as skills training for public transportation drivers and company logistics teams. The Federal Road Safety Corps cites a 20 percent reduction in road accidents due to the program’s sustained efforts since 2014. We have implemented similar programs in other areas of our operations and continue to seek new opportunities to improve road safety. 

Mobil Producing Nigeria participated in a behavioral awareness road safety campaign.
Photo — In 2016, Mobil Producing Nigeria participated in a behavioral awareness road safety campaign.

Emergency preparedness and response

Overview 

ExxonMobil maintains a strong emphasis on training for effective emergency response capabilities. We establish strategic emergency support groups (ESGs) around the world to develop and practice emergency response strategies and assist field responders. At ExxonMobil, we routinely train emergency support group personnel on a range of possible scenarios, including simulated spills, fires, explosions, natural disasters and security incidents.

Our approach 

Regardless of the size of an incident, each ExxonMobil facility and business unit has access to an array of trained responders, including our regional response teams (RRT), which provide rapid tactical support when needed. Each RRT participates in annual training programs with business line personnel, response organizations and relevant government authorities in the designated region. 

Our three RRTs — North America; Europe, Africa and Middle East; and Asia Pacific — consist of diverse ExxonMobil personnel trained in one consistent management system to address tactical issues associated with field response. 

Performance and initiatives 

Severe wildfires in 2016 resulted in one of the largest fire-related evacuations in Canadian history, impacting residents in 12 local communities and requiring production to be shut down at Imperial Oil’s Kearl oil sands mine and at its Syncrude joint venture operation. Imperial Oil is a majority-owned affiliate of ExxonMobil. 

In response, an ESG was assembled by Imperial Oil to manage the impacts to our business and support efforts of the Alberta government to help the community. The ESG supported the evacuation of approximately 3,000 people without incident, developed an air quality monitoring process and conducted regular communications with employees and the community to ensure their needs were being met. In support of the community, the Imperial Oil Foundation also donated $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross, gasoline to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and accommodations for evacuated employees, their families and other impacted residents of Northern Alberta.

  • Chief Jim Bouchier

    Fort McKay First Nation
    "Since the beginning of the evacuation in May 2016, Imperial Oil employees were in contact with Fort McKay First Nation to lend their support and ensure the health and safety of our community. The commitment of Imperial Oil employees to assisting Fort McKay during this crisis is something to be commended."

Workplace security

Overview

Ensuring the security of our people, physical assets and intellectual property is systematically embedded in our daily operations. ExxonMobil regularly assesses potential threats to our operations. In 2005, we formally integrated security expectations into our Operations Integrity Management System. This integration has served to more deeply embed security into day-to-day operations. In addition, we formed a corporate security network to help ensure consistent application of initiatives and programs worldwide. 

Our approach

Our new facilities go through a security analysis that takes into account potential risks, the application of countermeasures, relationships with communities and compliance with applicable laws. Our security personnel commonly participate in security-related drills, training and industry forums to enhance our established risk management methodologies, threat-assessment capabilities and technical security management. In higher-risk locations, we monitor local conditions and maintain detailed security preparedness plans, such as evacuation and intruder response plans. Employees traveling to and residing in severe- and high-threat countries receive specialized training designed to provide information about potential threats and appropriate responses in challenging security environments.

Performance and initiatives 

As the threat of cybersecurity continues to evolve, we have focused our attention on protecting our business against the growing risk of cyberattacks, which can potentially affect our data, facilities and operations. All of our employees and contractors annually complete web-based cybersecurity training on how to identify and respond to potential cybersecurity risks, in addition to an ongoing awareness program to reinforce safe computing behaviors.

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