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 injury rates by 51 percent since 2009, drawing upon its knowledgeable workforce and collective experience.
  • Valero's wellness program has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a Gold Level recipient of its Fit-Friendly Companies awards, as well as by the San Antonio Business Group on Health and 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 2015, with 0.40 incidents per 200,000 working hours. This is well below the industry average of 0.7.
  • Valero refinery employees and contractors achieved their lowest-ever combined recordable-injury rate of 0.38 in 2015.
  • The company's refineries recorded their lowest-ever lost-time incidence rate of 0.06 in 2015, the number of recordable injuries or illnesses requiring time away from work, per 200,000 working hours.
  • 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.
  • Eight 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. Valero has the most Star Sites in the U.S. In addition, Valero's Corpus Christi and Houston asphalt terminals, and its aviation department, are Star Sites.
  • The Valero Jean Gaulin Refinery in Quebec holds an internal VPP Star after passing first-of-its-kind VPP-style audits by independent teams of professionals trained by OSHA.
  • Achieved a 58 percent reduction in process safety event rates since 2010, with a three-year rolling average of 0.079 events per 200,000 working hours through 2015.


Environmental stewardship is a core value at Valero. The company has reduced environmental incidents more than 55 percent since 2007 and made significant improvements demonstrating its commitment to a cleaner environment. For example, Valero:

  • Spent billions on environmental upgrades at its refineries over the past 10 years, reducing emissions
  • Became the first traditional refiner to enter large-scale production of ethanol, a renewable fuel, with 11 plants in the Midwest
  • Built wind-powered turbines to power a refinery
  • Participates in a variety of environmental preservation efforts, such as a greenbelt provided between the Jean Gaulin refinery and residential neighborhoods in Quebec, featuring the 160-acre Valero Les Ecarts Park, offering many walking and cycling paths  

Valero makes significant environmental improvements, demonstrating its commitment to a cleaner environment.
Valero has achieved significant emission reductions and made improvements in producing cleaner-burning gasoline, diesel and ethanol-blended fuels.

  • Valero spent approximately $525 million to build a state-of-the-art flue-gas scrubber, one of the world's largest, at its Benicia refinery in California that is slashing sulfur dioxide emissions by 95 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 55 percent.
  • The company has installed flare-gas recovery systems at its refineries to capture and gather a variety of routine gases that otherwise would be flared.
  • Since 2007, Valero has reduced reportable flaring events more than 63 percent, criteria air emissions more than 53 percent and regulatory reportable spills to land or water by 57 percent.
  • Valero refineries reduced energy consumption to 0.42 million Btu per barrel of throughput in 2014, from 0.49 in 2008, a 16 percent reduction
  • Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a Valero subsidiary, produces "green" diesel fuel from recycled animal fat, used cooking oil and corn oil, in partnership with Darling Ingredients Inc., at a 10,800 barrel-per-day unit at the St. Charles refinery.
  • Valero recovers oil from waste materials and reprocesses it through a method called coker recycle, transforming the oil into high-value fuel and avoiding transportation and disposal of the waste material. In 2015, Valero recycled 8,382 dry tons of this material, up 41 percent over 2014.
  • At Valero Pembroke Refinery in Wales, a $35 million upgrade of the sulfur recovery unit and conversion of the plant to natural gas reduced annual sulfur dioxide emissions by 3,000 metric tons. An alkylation process upgrade reduced annual spent caustic material generated by 2,700 metric tons.
  • Plant wastewater from the Three Rivers refinery is treated and provided to the oil and gas industry for reuse as fracking water in the Texas Eagle Ford shale area, reducing use of fresh water.