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Safety is our core value and at the heart of performance across bp
Woman in overalls with microphone

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 in July 2021 a contractor died in a pipe lifting incident at our Castellon refinery in Spain. We deeply regret this loss and have offered our condolences and support to his family, as well as to his colleagues. We are taking action to learn from this incident by codifying lessons into our OMS and sharing them internally and externally, so we can try to mitigate the potential for this kind of incident to happen again.

We have seen gradual improvements in our personal safety metrics over the past five years, which we believe reflect our increasingly systematic approach and improvements in safety leadership and human performance. This work is ongoing with a continuing focus on our updated Safety Leadership Principles and initiatives such as our roll-out of the IOGP Life Saving Rules.

In 2021, we recorded an increase of 24% in our recordable injury frequency (RIF) and an increase in 16% in our days away from work case frequency (DAFWCF) compared with 2020, a year in which both were at an historic low due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the nature of work undertaken.

Compared with 2019, in 2021 our RIF slightly improved and, except for 2020, it was better than at any time in the past 15 years.

There was a small increase in recordable injuries (RI) between 2021 and 2020, and a small decrease in days away from work cases (DAFWC) during the same period. In 2021, DAFWC were at their lowest ever recorded level.

Process safety

The overall downward trend in tier 1 and tier 2 process safety events (PSE) continued in 2021. Our combined PSE have generally decreased over the past 10 years, apart from in 2019. We had fewer tier 1 and tier 2 PSE in 2021, with one fewer tier 1 PSE and seven fewer tier 2 PSE, compared with 2020.

Work is continuing on a number of process safety focus areas including risk management and learning. These are intended to further strengthen our OMS, 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. However, the number of oil spills in 2021 was 121, the same as in 2020.

Underpinning the generally improving trend is several years’ work in OMS areas, including ongoing risk management, investigations, process safety and control of work improvements. Risk management processes across the group are monitored and updated to improve their effectiveness.

Driving safety


Ten severe vehicle accidents (SVA) occurred in 2021 (2020 five SVAs) while kilometres driven for bp fell by 18% compared with 2020.

We are focusing on improving driving safety. In 2021, we carried out a driving safety campaign ‘Return back on the road again’ for some of our employees to raise driving safety awareness for those returning to driving after commuting less due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driver leaning out of tanker window

Human performance

We are 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 2021

Throughout 2021, we continued work to strengthen our safety culture, with the launch of a refreshed set of Safety Leadership Principles. These principles are designed to guide behaviour and ways of working across bp to drive a robust, consistent safety culture in which:


  • we genuinely care about each other
  • we will not compromise our focus on safety
  • we encourage and recognize speak-up
  • we understand how work actually happens
  • we learn why mistakes occur and respond supportively.

Our refreshed principles are guided by human performance, helping us enable a culture of care. It is about understanding how people interact with their working environment, recognizing that they can make mistakes and doing all we can to set them up for success.

Our progress in driving and integrating human performance to support our personal and process safety goals was recognized by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors, which presented bp with its prestigious President’s Award for 2021. This was in recognition of our internal progress and our industry-wide contribution in sharing our human performance learning resources externally.

Safety at bp during the COVID-19 pandemic


With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, we are taking steps to support our people. Precautions in our operations and offices, together with enhanced guidance, are focused on safety, hygiene and health, including mental health. Decisions about working practices and returning to office-based working are being made in compliance with local and national regulations, taking into account relevant guidelines.

During 2021, COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions affected our ability to get people to and from our operations. This had human and operational consequences. Those who could travel often faced extended periods away from home, at their workplace or in quarantine, which led to concerns about possible fatigue.

We managed these concerns as directly as possible and provided ongoing information about burnout and stress management, for example through our globally accessible Employee Assistance Programme. At an operational level we needed to defer some scheduled activities, however plans are in place to address the impact of this.

Despite the challenging circumstances presented by the pandemic, we remained focused on safety, for example, we held our annual contractor and supplier events for operations and project safety, virtually, in October 2021.

A customer at a bp retail site

HSE charting tool – safety data

  • Historic data is available and can be viewed in a variety of chart formats

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