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Safety and security

Safety is more than just a priority at ExxonMobil – it is a core value and an integral part of our culture. Protecting the safety and health of our workforce is fundamental to our business.

We are relentless in our pursuit of safety so every employee and contractor comes home from work each day safe and healthy. This commitment also extends to members of the communities where we operate. We will never stop working toward our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt.

All of our employees and third-party contractors have the responsibility to work safely, regardless of job function. We take a disciplined approach to safety, grounded in the foundation of our Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS). OIMS is embedded in our everyday work processes at all levels, and we continuously work to improve our own performance. An important element of OIMS is assessment of our work processes and risk management actions. An independent team of qualified professionals regularly audits our processes and shares best practices and lessons learned across the company.

  • Jack Toellner

    P.E., CSP, Senior safety consultant

    "A lot of people look at Nobody Gets Hurt as simply a statement of desired results. While Nobody Gets Hurt does accurately reflect the desired results we are looking for, it is so much more in that it reflects our safety culture at its deepest core. Nobody Gets Hurt is an expressed value that demonstrates ExxonMobil’s care and commitment to the communities in which we work and the families of the workers in our operations."

Although the number is declining, safety incidents and near-misses do occur. To prevent serious injuries, there is an elevated focus on “life-saving” practices for work activities that have the potential for serious injuries if not done properly. Examples include lifting heavy loads, operating equipment and working with electrical power or at elevated heights.

When a safety incident or near-miss does occur, we investigate the incident and all potential outcomes and evaluate barriers required to avoid future occurrences. This analysis helps improve our work processes and practices in our pursuit of operational excellence.

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we look at leading indicators that could help with risk prevention and mitigation to reduce incidents further. These leading indicators will allow for a closer analysis of incidents with potentially severe consequences and will contribute to the reinforcement of leadership and organizational behaviors consistent with our relentless pursuit of operational excellence.

  • Bob Bailes

    Downstream and Chemical safety, security, health and environment manager

    "We have a relentless focus on eliminating high potential consequence events — it’s not just about what happened, but what could have happened and how do we best ensure that it never does."

Personnel safety

Every ExxonMobil employee has a common responsibility in every assignment we undertake: identify, assess and mitigate the risks associated with our operations. We continued to work toward our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt in 2014. When compared with 2013, our workforce lost-time incident rate decreased by 30 percent. Over the past 10 years, we have reduced this rate by 50 percent. However, we know we still have work to do to reach our goal.

We deeply regret that three contractors were fatally injured in three separate incidents related to ExxonMobil operations in 2014. Two of the incidents were related to working with wellhead and drilling equipment, and the third occurred at a construction site. We thoroughly investigated these and all incidents to learn how to prevent similar incidents in the future, and then enhanced our work practices and facilities accordingly. We have implemented processes to look at all incidents, even those with no injuries, to understand the potential of the incident. By applying this process, we seek to learn from any incident with the potential for a more serious outcome. This process is in line with studies we have conducted to target serious injuries, in an effort to eliminate any high-potential consequence event. We will relentlessly pursue this goal until we achieve our stated vision of Nobody Gets Hurt. We broadly share the results of our findings with our organization, so our employees and contractors can learn how to better protect themselves and their coworkers.

As part of our operations-wide dedication to safety, we strive for a partnership between all workers, including third-party suppliers and contractors. Every day, our contractors take part in safety training and safety meetings alongside our employees. For example, since we started our Major Projects Group in Western Canada, we have conducted safety orientations for more than 72,000 people, ensuring the vision of Nobody Gets Hurt extends to everyone. A key element in our strategy for our contractors is to enhance their leadership practices and safety management systems. Since 2000, we have conducted annual safety leadership forums with our major project contractors, with the focus on a partnership that leads to an injury-free workplace. In 2014, ExxonMobil Development Company hosted a contractor safety forum for approximately 70 contract companies with the theme of Safety Partnerships and Culture of Caring.

Our operations in LaBarge, Wyoming, passed a safety milestone in December 2014, completing two full years without a recordable injury across all work groups and functions. This accomplishment represents more than 1.6 million safe work hours and is the safest-ever period for this location. This success was achieved through clear alignment on safety expectations, commitment by the workforce and visible leadership engagement. Another key aspect of this success was an “our house” mindset that established a sense of family and ownership within the work teams. This sense of family translates into a culture where our workers are ensuring that everyone goes home in the same condition as they came to work.

  • Jim Seale

    Upstream safety, security, health and environment manager

    "Excellence in safety performance is achieved through strong leadership, formal and informal, at all levels in the organization, driving effective management system practices and nurturing a supportive culture."

Though we have had many safety accomplishments, we continue to look for ways to improve so we can meet our goal of Nobody Gets Hurt. For example, our Downstream business analyzed safety data from projects over a five-year period and noticed the majority of incidents occurred during the final 20 percent of a construction project. As a result, we developed the “Finish Strong” program to help project management teams understand the dynamics associated with the end of a project, as well as communicate tips that have helped other teams maintain their safety focus throughout the life of a project. This focus has resulted in a strong improvement in safety performance. For example, in 2010, up to 80 percent of safety incidents occurred near the end of a project. In 2013, we reduced this number to approximately 10 percent and achieved zero in 2014.

Lost-time incident rate

Total recordable incident rate

Process safety

Our position as a safety leader includes diligent management of process safety: equipment, procedures and training that prevent the uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons and hazardous substances. Our goal is to prevent incidents with the potential for serious injuries or fatalities, widespread environmental impact or property damage. To that end, we employ multiple layers of protection, or barriers, to help prevent a loss of containment as illustrated in the graphic below.

We subscribe to the American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice 754 and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers No. 456, which are industry standards. These standards define process safety indicators and use a process safety incident triangle to represent events from Tier 1 through Tier 4. Tiers 1 and 2 include incidents resulting in a loss of primary containment. According to the API, loss of primary containment is defined as an unplanned or uncontrolled release of any material from primary containment, including nontoxic and nonflammable materials. Tiers 3 and 4 represent near-misses and leading performance measures such as on-time maintenance performance. In 2014, we had 65 Tier 1 process safety events. Although this is slightly higher than in 2013, our focus on process safety remains high, with a continued emphasis on barrier health and effective risk discovery and mitigation.

Collaborating with our peers and industry associations on process safety is a company priority. We serve on industry work groups and initiatives focused on improving safety. For example, we are actively engaged in the Advancing Process Safety Initiative, a collaborative effort between the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the 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 and performance metrics, and industry-proven practices. This effort recognizes that when a significant process safety event occurs at any site, it affects everyone in the industry by eroding stakeholder trust.

Product safety and responsibility

As part of product stewardship, we assess the safety, health and environmental aspects of our products, as well as compliance with product safety legislation for all intended markets. Our rigorous 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. It also ensures compliance with regulations in more than 150 countries. Due to the evolving nature of regulatory requirements, we continually monitor developments to ensure our products comply with regulations, 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); and
  • Clean fuel standards in the United States and the European Union.

Product transport by rail

Our stakeholders have been increasingly interested in the industry ’s management of safe product transport by rail. In the North American market, ExxonMobil manages one of the largest shipper fleets in our industry to move our plastics, chemicals, lubricants and fuels products to our customers. Over the past five years, the industry has seen a significant increase in the utilization of rail transport for crude oil, primarily due to new unconventional production sources. In 2015, ExxonMobil will start up a new joint venture crude rail terminal in Edmonton, Alberta, which will ship Western Canadian crude to our U.S. Gulf Coast and midcontinent refineries. We have comprehensive risk management plans in place to ensure rail transportation of all products is managed in the safest manner. These plans address rail car design and loading and unloading procedures to ensure safe transit.

Safe transport by rail is a shared accountability, covering rail maintenance, train operations, car integrity and emergency response. The API and Association of American Railroads joint working group works to ensure all entities – suppliers, customers, railroads and local emergency responders – have the resources and training necessary to prevent, and when necessary, respond effectively to any potential emergency events. ExxonMobil is also engaging with railroads that are transporting our products to understand the capabilities of all involved entities and find areas where we can assist. Through this engagement, we believe the proper equipment, procedures and people are in place to react to any potential emergency situation. We will continue to work with our industry peers and railroads to ensure safe transport of oil products.

Growth in crude oil transported by rail, 2009-2013

Workplace security

Ensuring the security of our people, physical assets and intellectual property is deeply embedded in our daily operations. We have developed consistent worldwide security practices and have trained site-security contacts to meet challenges in the diverse locations where we do business. Each new facility goes 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 regularly participate in governmental and industry forums to enhance our established risk-management methodologies, threat-assessment capabilities and technical security applications. In higher-threat locations, we monitor local conditions and maintain detailed security preparedness plans. 

We continue to protect our business against the growing risk of cyber-attacks, which can potentially affect our data, facilities and ongoing operations. On average, our cybersecurity screening programs block more than 70 million emails, 140 million Internet access attempts and 150,000 other potentially malicious actions each month. We have an ongoing awareness program to reinforce safe computing behaviors with our workforce through periodic communications and mock email phishing tests. In 2014, 100 percent of our employees and contractors completed web-based cybersecurity training on how to identify and respond to potential cybersecurity risks.

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