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Everything we do relies upon the safety of our workforce and the communities around us. Safety at bp is underpinned by our operating management system (OMS). Our OMS is how we work: the systematic framework designed to sustainably deliver safe, reliable and compliant operations.


Personal safety 

Tragically, we saw one fatality related to illness in our operations in 2020. This occurred in December in our Indonesian operations when an employee died following COVID-19 infection contracted on site. We deeply regret this loss and offer our deepest condolences to the employee’s family. We have taken steps to help our employees operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.


We have seen improvements in our personal safety metrics. This may in part be a consequence of decreased activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we believe that other, more intended factors, are also involved – namely our deepening focus on safety leadership, human performance, and the effectiveness of core safety processes, such as permit-to-work.


This year we rolled out the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) Life Saving Rules, helping to create greater consistency for employees and contractors working on our sites.


Broader personal safety performance showed material improvement with recordable injury frequency (RIF) rates dropping from 0.166 in 2019 to 0.132 in 2020. Since 2015, RIF rates have decreased by 46%.

Recordable injury frequency b,c (workforce per 200,000 hours worked)
Recordable injury frequency b,c (workforce per 200,000 hours worked)
Day away from work case frequency b,d (workforce per 200,000 hours worked)
Day away from work case frequency b,d (workforce per 200,000 hours worked)

Process safety

Our process safety performance was better than in 2019 and roughly comparable to 2018 and 2017. There were 35% fewer tier 1 PSEa in 2020 compared to 2019, but our performance was broadly in line with the previous three years. We also recorded 26% fewer tier 2 PSEa compared to 2019, lower than the previous 10 years. The combined PSE tier 1 and tier 2 PSE were down 29% in 2020 compared to 2019.


Looking ahead, we have defined a number of additional process safety focus areas including more risk management initiatives and increased use of data analytics. These are intended to further strengthen our operating management system, our process safety barriers and consequently our safety performance.


Spills and spill prevention

We have made progress in preventing and reducing spills over the past 10 years. In 2020 we saw a decrease in the total number of oil spillse, from 152 in 2019 to 121. This reflects the targeted actions to improve performance that we’ve taken in areas such as corrosion management, operating procedures and human factors. They are underpinned by several years’ work to improve our operating management system.

Process safety events (number of incidents)
Process safety events (number of incidents)
Driving safety


In 2020, kilometres driven for bp fell by 26% compared to 2019, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had no driving-related fatalities in 2020 and no third-party fatalities as the result of a vehicle accident. Five severe vehicle accidents (SVAs) occurred – a reduction of 79% compared to 2019.


We’ve taken specific actions on driving safety during the pandemic, including online engagement with our transport providers and providing specific advice to drivers about how to drive defensively and avoid distraction or fatigue.

Driver leaning out of tanker window

Human performance

We’re making greater use of human performance techniques to help improve safety and sharing our human performance learning resources beyond bp. 


People’s actions and decisions are influenced by the conditions in which they work: the processes they follow, the equipment and systems they use and their surrounding environment – these all make a difference. We can improve or redesign these aspects to reduce the likelihood of human error. To do this, we’re making greater use of human performance techniques.


Our performance in 2020


This year, we built on the progress made in 2019, when 9,000 employees completed introductory human performance training, by supporting 67 bp employees to complete a more advanced programme and become human performance champions.  We also shared our expertise outside bp by providing relevant e-learning resources to help the Energy Institute shape the training materials it provides for others in our industry, while also extending the contractor forum events launched in previous years.


Safety through technology

From robotic crawlers and drones to big data, we believe technology can play an increasingly effective role in reducing safety risks.


Our performance in 2020


Throughout 2020 we extended our use of technology to reduce safety risks. Some of our key actions included: bpx energy’s use of a robotic crawler, on pressure vessels, which has cut inspection times from four weeks to four days and our ongoing use of drones for routine inspections. We also continued to explore the use of big data and advanced analytics to help us analyze risks and identify emerging challenges or trends.


Cyber security

bp has faced new cyber threats arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Cyber security continues to be an area of risk to industry and remains a key priority for bp. As with previous years we have experienced threats, including new phishing campaigns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, but none of these had a significant impact on our business in 2020.


We continue to focus on maintaining security across the organization and encouraging vigilance amongst our employees through cyber security training and awareness campaigns. We also collaborate closely with governments, law enforcement and industry peers to understand and respond to new and emerging threats.

Safety at bp during the COVID-19 pandemic


Despite the pandemic, we maintained our commitment to safety throughout 2020 and our overall performance reflects this. In 2020, compared to 2019, fewer people were injured at work and there were reductions in tier 1 and tier 2 process safety events and serious vehicle accidents. Looking beyond these improvements, we know there is more to be done and our safety plans reflect this. This year, more than any other, also reminded us that keeping our people safe is not only about having fewer incidents but also supporting their wellbeing.


It was always apparent that bp would have to keep operating to help provide the energy the world needs, taking into account public health restrictions, and that this would involve employees continuing to work at our retail sites and other operations. 


For employees who had to continue working at our operations and retail sites, we rapidly assessed the changing circumstances and responded to support them. For example, we introduced quarantining procedures before and after our teams started their rotations when working in remote or offshore locations, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. We also brought in additional protective measures for those in frontline retail roles. 


Health and safety leaders across bp used their training to good effect, responding to potential challenges. For example, at our West Nile Delta site in Egypt, leaders brought their teams together to discuss possible mental health consequences and to develop coping strategies. Their approach was quickly replicated by other projects and operations.


We saw the same level of engagement and determination in our key suppliers. They engaged with us and each other, to spot potential issues and discuss how best to address them, often using our supplier forums as a focal point for collaboration.

a. Tier 1 events are losses of primary containment from a process of greatest consequence – causing harm to a member of the workforce, damage to equipment from a fire or explosion, a community impact or exceeding defined quantities. Tier 2 events are those of lesser consequence.
b. API and IOGP 2020data reports are not available until May 2021.
c. The number of reported work-related incidents that result in a fatality or injury.
d. The number of incidents that resulted in an injury where a person is unable to work for a day (or shift) or more.
e. The number of accidental or unplanned losses of hydrocarbon from primary containment from a bp or contractor operation, irrespective of any secondary containment or recovery. Oil spills > 1bbl are defined as any liquid hydrocarbon release of more than, or equal to, one barrel (159 litres, equivalent to 42 US gallons).

HSE charting tool – safety data

  • Filter and analyse information on bp’s safety performance
  • Historic data is available and can be viewed in a variety of chart formats

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