A. “It’s easy to think that human error causes incidents. However, when we dig deeper we find that actions and decisions are influenced by the conditions in which people work – including the equipment, systems, processes and environment. We can fix those issues to reduce the likelihood of mistakes. It can be as simple as making it clear which button to press. Or it could be more complex, like asking where there are opportunities for misunderstanding in a procedure. Behind every metric or statistic is a real person. That’s why, for us, safety is about taking care of each other by fixing these issues.”
Our goal is no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment. To deliver this, we carefully plan our operations, identifying potential hazards and managing risks at every stage.
We design our facilities in line with process safety – the application of good design and engineering principles ̶ and have rigorous operating and maintenance practices and capable people. If we can’t eliminate a hazard, we take steps to reduce or manage it. For example, as part of our downstream corrosion management programme, which proactively identifies and mitigates integrity risks, the team at our Kwinana refinery in Australia discovered a condensation corrosion risk, which we inspected and repaired to avoid a potential incident.
People, and how they interact with equipment, processes and each other, underpin any safe working environment. We have trained more than 5,000 people on human performance and provided techniques that help teams to analyse and redesign specific tasks to reduce the chance of mistakes occurring.
We are integrating these human performance techniques into our existing practices, such as incident investigation, risk assessment and the way we design facilities and equipment, to help prevent errors. As an example, we asked operators with different levels of experience in our UK fuels business to assess the way in which fuel storage tanks are typically drained. They discovered that the risk of opening an incorrect valve – and potentially causing a fuel spill – could be greatly reduced with clearer labelling and new valve locks, so we put these in place at the site.
We focus on these so people can go home safely.
To strengthen our safety performance, we investigate incidents and near misses, take corrective action, apply what we have learned and focus on continually improving how we work. Our systematic approach to learning is also informed by good practices from other industries, such as aviation and nuclear.
We share what we have learned with our contractors. They carry out more than half the hours worked for BP, so their skills and performance are vital to our ability to carry out our work safely.
Our standard model contracts include health, safety and security requirements. We also use documents to define how our safety management system co-exists with those of our contractors to manage risk on a site. For our contractors working on more hazardous tasks, we conduct quality, technical, health, safety and security audits before awarding contracts. Once they start work, we continue to monitor their safety performance and work together to resolve issues.