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 injury rates by 63 percent since 2013, 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 Fitness 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 2017, with 0.28 incidents per 200,000 working hours. This is well below the industry average of 0.6.
  • Valero refineries earned five safety awards in 2017 from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers for occupational and process safety achievements over the prior year, including an Elite Silver Safety award to the Wilmington refinery
  • 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 2017. The refineries also recorded their highest-ever mechanical availability rate, at 97.3percent.


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 2017, Valero achieved its best-ever environmental performance, achieving a one-third reduction in incidents from two years previous.
  • Over the past decade, performance has improved by 71 percent, by focusing on enhanced incident investigations and taking corrective actions to prevent recurrence of environmental events.
  • Valero ranked highest among independent refiners in Newsweek magazine's 2017 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: 

  • Diamond Green Diesel, a joint venture of Valero subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling Ingredients Inc., produces renewable diesel fuel from discarded animal fats, used cooking oil and inedible corn oil. The produce meets the most stringent of emission standards.
  • Valero has invested in cogeneration systems that produce both electricity and thermal energy, a more efficient way of making power as well as steam that is recycled back into the refining process.
  • The company operates a 50-megawatt wind farm that partly powers the McKee refinery, at Sunray, Texas.
  • Valero operates 11 corn ethanol plants in the Midwest, producing clean-burning, high-octane renewable fuel.
  • 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 2017, that volume was approximately 2.2 million gallons. Through this process, Valero recycled 10,806 dry tons of material in 2017, an 16 percent increase over 2016. Six Valero refineries currently employ coker recycling processes.
  • Refineries recycle material recovered from tank cleaning for use by cement kilns in their processes. The material otherwise would be incinerated, avoiding 5,085 tons of ash being sent to landfills and bringing the total to 26,234 tons since 2013.
  • 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.