Safety

Report Dec. 20, 2019

In this article

Safety

Overview

Safety is a core value at ExxonMobil. We operate in a manner that helps protect our employees, contractors, customers and the communities where we operate. Our approach to safety includes identifying possible risks, implementing measures to prevent potential incidents and educating employees and contractors about unsafe behaviors. For 26 years, our Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS) has established a set of worldwide expectations for addressing risks inherent to our business, including safety risks. Our work procedures embed OIMS into our everyday work processes at all levels of the organization.

OIMS framework

The OIMS framework is built around 11 elements, each covering a key aspect of risk across ExxonMobil’s global operations.
Spotlight

Using technology to improve safety in ExxonMobil operations 

Eric Johnston, with ExxonMobil Information Technology, tests hands-free computing through virtual and augmented reality.

We use digital tools to support the safety of our workforce and improve safety practices in our operations. ExxonMobil is creating training modules that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of field training. The technology enables operators and engineers to engage in virtual “hands-on” training inside a simulated plant or facility that mimics what they experience on the job. Managers are able to simulate a variety of scenarios such as routine operations, emergency response, critical procedures and low-probability, high-consequence events in a safe and controlled environment.

In 2018, ExxonMobil piloted virtual reality (VR) training programs at our facilities in Baytown and Beaumont, Texas, which proved more effective than traditional training methods. We also recently announced the implementation of VR training modules at our new polypropylene production unit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We are also partnering with Baton Rouge Community College to support a VR training laboratory, where local students learn about industry-related scenarios, including process safety and emergency response.

Personnel safety

Overview

ExxonMobil maintains a strong safety culture with a clear objective: Nobody Gets Hurt. We promote a safety-first mentality for ExxonMobil employees and contractors to reach our goal of zero workplace injuries and illnesses. We do so by providing training to help eliminate unsafe behaviors that can lead to personal injuries. Our global workforce is empowered to intervene or stop work when they observe an at-risk situation or unsafe behavior. 

Thousands of contract workers support our operations every day. It is essential that third-party contractors follow our policies and meet our business objectives. Since 2000, we have held safety leadership forums with contractors working on our major projects. These promote a strong safety partnership with contract workers, improving our safety performance and supporting our goal for an injury-free workplace.

2018 performance and initiatives

We have achieved a nearly 80 percent improvement in our workforce lost-time incident rate since the Exxon and Mobil merger in 2000. While the number of incidents serious enough for a worker to be off the job is declining, incidents do periodically occur. We deeply regret that three contract workers suffered fatal injuries in separate incidents related to ExxonMobil operations in 2018. We thoroughly investigated the causes and contributing factors associated with the incidents to prevent similar events in the future. We disseminate the findings across our operations globally. 

Lost-time incident rate*

Incidents per 200,000 work hours

ExxonMobil’s 2018 total workforce (employees and contractors) lost-time incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.034, an increase of 14 percent from 2017. In 2018, our employee total lost-time incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.037 and our contractor lost-time incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.031. When compared with the American Petroleum Institute U.S. petroleum industry workforce benchmark, ExxonMobil continues to be among the industry leaders in safety performance.

*Incidents include injuries and illnesses. We base our safety data on information available at the time of publication. Workforce includes employees and contractors. Depending on the reporting year, around 2 to 13 percent of the incidents are illness-related.

Total recordable incident rate*

Incidents per 200,000 work hours

ExxonMobil’s 2018 total recordable workforce (employees and contractors) incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.22, an increase of 12 percent from 2017. In 2018, our total recordable employee incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.14 and our total recordable contractor incident rate per 200,000 work hours was 0.26. When compared with the American Petroleum Institute U.S. petroleum industry workforce benchmark, ExxonMobil continues to be among the industry leaders in safety performance. 

*Incidents include injuries and illnesses. We base our safety data on information available at the time of publication. Workforce includes employees and contractors. Depending on the reporting year, around 2 to 13 percent of the incidents are illness-related.

Emergency preparedness 

Overview

ExxonMobil is prepared to respond to a wide array of emergency events, including natural disasters and operational incidents. Regardless of the size, severity or cause of an event, each ExxonMobil facility and business unit can access trained responders and resources. We routinely test our emergency response teams in accordance with external regulatory requirements and our own Operations Integrity Management System.
Cross-functional teams develop and practice emergency response tactics through emergency support groups and incident management teams we support around the world. Our emergency support groups consist of advisors from business lines; human resources; law; public and government affairs; and our operational excellence, safety, security, health and environment group. The teams test their emergency response strategies through simulations of spills, fires and security incidents. Regional response teams support emergency support groups and local emergency response teams as needed. We have three regional response teams: Americas; Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and Asia Pacific. Each team consists of cross-functional ExxonMobil personnel trained to address a range of scenarios.

2018 corporate emergency preparedness and response training

2018 performance and initiatives

For example, in 2018, the ExxonMobil Americas Regional Response Team (ARRT) conducted an emergency response exercise in the Houston area in coordination with the Texas General Land Office. The training exercise simulated a response to an offshore oil spill where the oil reached shore. To accomplish this, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams went to Galveston Island State Park and conducted mock SCAT surveys under real environmental conditions. The results of the mock surveys were transmitted to the command post where the remainder of the team used the information to inform remediation efforts at the hypothetically impacted areas. Nearly 80 ARRT personnel participated in the exercise. 
ExxonMobil employees participated in a safety training conducted by the ExxonMobil Americas Regional Response Team in Galveston, Texas.
Spotlight

Supporting disaster relief efforts in Papua New Guinea and Mozambique

In February 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake impacted the Hela Province of Papua New Guinea, tragically resulting in loss of life and massive damage to roads, houses and infrastructure. Following the earthquake, ExxonMobil personnel immediately assisted communities affected by the disaster. We provided large tents, water purification equipment and water containers to help people displaced from their homes, including workers from the ExxonMobil-operated Hides gas conditioning plant, a part of the Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) project. 

ExxonMobil coordinated with government response teams, nongovernmental organizations and foreign governments. Within days, we sent a group of 10 aid experts and disaster assessors to help mobilize support for those in need. 

We were also able to direct previously made community investments in the Hela Province toward providing emergency medical care and fresh food for victims. ExxonMobil purchased 20 tons of food—enough to feed 4,700 households for a month—to send to communities in the region. We used a health care facility supported by ExxonMobil and the Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea, as well as a local sustainable agricultural program implemented in partnership with the Australian National University Enterprise. 

ExxonMobil donated $1 million to the Salvation Army to assist local agencies providing supplies and ongoing relief to impacted areas. Resuming production at PNG LNG also enabled local economic support in the aftermath of the earthquake. ExxonMobil’s facilities in the area had been designed to withstand major earthquakes and were soon able to resume operations.

In 2019, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth struck Mozambique and caused significant infrastructure damage and loss of life. We donated more than $400,000 to the Red Cross and other aid agencies. Our contributions support ongoing relief and recovery efforts, providing food and shelter for those impacted by the storms. Following the cyclones, some of the remote villages impacted by the storms were only accessible by boat or helicopter. ExxonMobil employees, contractors and their family members volunteered to help get critical supplies to those trapped by damaged roads and floodwaters.

Process safety 

Overview

ExxonMobil aims to prevent the uncontrolled release of hazardous substances to avoid significant health incidents, safety and environmental impacts and property damage. Through our process safety efforts, we employ rigorous design, construction and operating standards at our facilities. 

OIMS serves as the foundation for identifying process safety risks associated with our operations. We conduct inspection and maintenance programs to test critical equipment regularly and maintain compliance with applicable regulations. We also use technologies such as optical imaging cameras at many of our manufacturing facilities to monitor the integrity of our operations. When we identify risks, we implement appropriate preventive measures for equipment, processes and people. 

2018 performance and initiatives

ExxonMobil applies industry standards, including the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 754 and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers No. 456 Recommended Practice. We use a process safety incident triangle to classify and track incidents by severity from Tier 1 (events of greater consequence) through Tier 4. We report Tier 1 and Tier 2 events to a number of organizations each year, including the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. In 2018, we experienced 72 Tier 1 process safety events, which is approximately 14 percent higher than 2017. ExxonMobil tracks and analyzes Tier 1 and 2 process safety events to continually improve safety performance and prevent future incidents.

Process safety triangle*

*Based on the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 754 and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers Report 456, the process safety incident triangle is used to represent Tier 1 through Tier 4. 

We collaborate with our peers and industry associations to share lessons learned. For example, ExxonMobil is actively engaged in the Advancing Process Safety initiative, a collaborative effort between the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute. The initiative aims to improve process safety performance across the industry by sharing experiences and knowledge about process safety events, hazard identification metrics and industry-proven practices.

Product safety

Overview

ExxonMobil’s product safety program aims to reduce potential negative environmental and social impacts while increasing the benefits of our products to society. Our Standards of Business Conduct includes ExxonMobil’s product safety policy. Components of our approach are consistent with product safety guidelines that IPIECA and the International Council of Chemical Associations have developed.

Our Product Stewardship Information Management System applies standard processes and computer systems to capture and communicate information on the safe handling, transport, use and disposal of our products. We use quality-assurance processes to verify that materials meet design and construction specifications. ExxonMobil ensures our products align with current regulations, standards and guidelines, including:

  • U.N. Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals
  • U.N. Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

ExxonMobil implements safety and environmental standards while transporting our products via multiple methods, including marine, pipeline and rail. We regularly engage with industry peers and emergency responders to promote the safe transport of oil and chemical products and develop improved training programs for public responders.

Abena Asi, production operations technician, at the Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Papua New Guinea.

2018 performance and initiatives

About 500 vessels operate daily service in connection with ExxonMobil’s worldwide marine business. In 2018, we logged more than 16,000 voyages and more than 35,000 port calls, safely transporting approximately 1.2 billion barrels of crude oil and refined products. ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and its affiliates safely transport nearly 3 million barrels a day of crude oil and refined products. We currently operate approximately 4,000 miles of active pipelines in the United States. 

ExxonMobil believes safe transport by rail is a shared responsibility, covering rail maintenance, train operations, rail car integrity and emergency response. We have 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. 

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