Preventing and responding to accidents and oil spills
BP works to prevent, mitigate and ensure our preparedness to respond to accidents and spills across our operations
We produce and transport fuels and chemicals which involves handling and converting large volumes of highly flammable and toxic substances. We use safety principles to manage the integrity of hazardous operating systems and processes to prevent accidents and oil spills. This involves applying good design principles along with robust engineering, operating and maintenance practices. Leadership commitment is fundamental to successful delivery. Other key aspects involve understanding hazards and evaluating and managing operational risks, and learning from experience to continuously improve.
Our process safety approach is fundamental to the management of safe and reliable operations across our oil and gas production fields, drilling rigs, and in our refineries.
Plant and asset management
Our plants, facilities, assets and floating systems are designed to be fit for purpose throughout the lifecycle of their operation. We continue to invest in high integrity, safety systems and take actions to prevent and mitigate safety incidents such as strengthening buildings or installing additional safety instrumented systems.
Tracking the effectiveness of our process safety management
To track our progress in process safety management we use both leading and lagging performance indicators. Leading indicators focus on the strength of our controls to prevent incidents, these include inspections, reducing overdue maintenance and corrective actions and tests of equipment critical to process safety. Lagging indicators record events that have already happened, such as oil spills or losses of primary containment.
We have been an active participant in industry efforts to develop process safety indicators, including efforts with the Center for Chemical Process Safety, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.
The approach we take is described in the API process safety indicator pyramid which takes a tiered approach to process safety incident reporting.
Process safety indicator pyramid from API RP 754
Process Safety Indicator Pyramid from API RP 754 1st Edition, April 2010. Reproduced courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.
In line with API guidance we report tier 1 and 2 metrics externally and use tier 3 and 4 metrics to monitor our performance internally.
Safety metrics that monitor performance are reported quarterly to the group operations risk committee, which is chaired by the group chief executive, and attended by the head of our safety and operational risk function and other executive team members. Analysis of this data feeds into our risk management process and allows us to identify opportunities to strengthen processes to help prevent accidents taking place. It can also cause a ‘learning alert’ to be issued to BP operating sites, which may trigger actions to be taken that seek to prevent similar accidents occurring. These metrics are then discussed with the board and with the safety, ethics and environment assurance committee.
We continue to evolve our metrics to align with our operating management system and industry good practice to help us effectively track and manage performance.
Q: Why does BP not report leading process safety metrics externally?
A: At BP we apply the API approach to our reporting. Both leading and lagging indicators are important in helping us to analyse trends in our process safety performance, but leading indicators are often more operation specific and more challenging to interpret at group level, or compare with industry peers. We therefore report these internally to help inform business segments and operations and to provide a more granular view of process safety performance within the business. -- Hazel O'Leary Manager, HSSE Management and Performance, Safety and Operational Risk, BP