Safety & Environment

Health and Safety

Valero's most important measure of success always has been the health and safety of its employees, contractors, customers and neighbors.

  • Valero has the most refineries approved as "Star Sites," the highest plant safety recognition under Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and affiliated state agencies.
  • The company has reduced refinery employee and contractor injury rates by 53 percent since 2010, drawing upon its knowledgeable workforce and collective experience.
  • Valero's wellness program has been recognized by the San Antonio Business Group on Health in collaboration with the Mayor's Fitnesss Council as a Healthy Workplace Platinum award recipient.

Safety involves all employees and processes.
Both occupational and process safety are integrated into every facet of Valero operations. Valero’s occupational health and safety program is successful because it is developed, supported and carried out by all employees, from executive management to the newest hire. The company’s process safety program instills safety and reliability at every facility to push beyond regulatory compliance to operational excellence.

  • Valero refineries achieved their lowest-ever employee recordable-injury rate in 2016, with 0.35 incidents per 200,000 working hours. This is well below the industry average of 0.6.
  • Valero refinery employees and contractors achieved their lowest-ever combined recordable-injury rate of 0.32 in 2016.
  • Valero refineries and one asphalt plant earned 15 safety awards in 2016 from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers for occupational and process safety achievements over the prior year.
  • Ten Valero refineries are "Star Sites," prestigious safety recognitions under Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and affiliated state agencies. In addition, Valero's Corpus Christi, Houston and St. James asphalt terminals, and its aviation department, are Star Sites.
  • The Valero Jean Gaulin Refinery in Quebec and Pembroke refinery in Wales hold internal VPP Stars after passing first-of-its-kind VPP-style audits by independent teams of professionals trained by OSHA.
  • Valero refineries achieved their lowest-ever process safety event rate, with a three-year rolling average of 0.066 events per 200,000 working hours through 2016. The refineries also recorded their highest-ever mechanical availability rate, at 96.9 percent.


Over the past decade, Valero has made major capital investments by installing flare-gas measurement and recovery systems and wet-gas scrubbers on fluidized catalytic cracking units, and making enhancements in sulfur-recovery unit technologies. This, combined with a focus on operational excellence and improved reliability, has led to performance that is among the best in the industry.

  • In 2016, Valero achieved its best-ever environmental performance, reducing its number of incidents by one-third from the previous year.
  • Over the past decade, performance has improved by more than 70 percent, by focusing on enhanced incident investigations and taking corrective actions to prevent recurrence of environmental events.
  • Six refineries either set or tied environmental performance records.
  • Valero once again was named in Newsweek magazine's Green Rankings of top 500 U.S. publicly traded companies for environmental performance.

Here are just a few ways Valero works to improve and enhance the environment: 

  • Valero recovers usable oil from waste materials and reprocesses the remaining oily solids through a method called coker injection, transforming them into a high-value fuel. This process avoids the generation and disposal of hazardous wastes. In 2016, that volume was approximately 2 million gallons. Through this process, Valero recycled 9,863 dry tons of material in 2016, an 18 percent increase over 2015. Six Valero refineries currently employ coker recycling processes.
  • In 2016, Valero recycled approximately 14.7 million pounds of spent refining catalyst material that otherwise would be disposed in landfills, up nearly 16 percent from two years earlier. The recovered metals are used by manufacturers. Used catalyst from a fluidized catalytic cracking unit at Pembroke that previously was sent to a facility in Germany is now turned into briquettes and recycled into insulation materials in Wales.
  • Valero continually seeks opportunities to use treated domestic wastewater for refinery use, potentially saving billions of gallons of fresh water for other community and residential uses each year.
  • Valero operates 11 corn ethanol plants in the Midwest.
  • Diamond Green Diesel, a joint venture of Valero subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling Ingredients Inc., is expanding the capacity of its plant at Norco, Louisiana, producing renewable diesel fuel from animal fats, used cooking oil and corn oil.
  • Valero operates a 50-megawatt wind farm that partly powers the McKee refinery, at Sunray, Texas.
  • Employees participate in a variety of environmental stewardship efforts, from restoring woodlands and wetlands to helping create habitat for sensitive species.