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 recorded its lowest-ever refinery employee injury rate in 2019, and a 68% decrease since 2010, drawing upon its knowledgeable workforce and collective experience.
- Valero also posted its lowest-ever refinery process safety event rate in 2019, a 65% reduction since 2010, and maintained high refinery mechanical availability.
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's record-low refinery employee recordable-injury rate in 2019 of 0.25 incidents per 200,000 working hours was well below the industry average.
- Valero refineries earned four safety awards in 2019 from American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers for occupational and process safety achievements over the prior year, including an Elite Silver Safety award to the Ardmore 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, three Valero asphalt terminals 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 maintained their lowest process safety event rate, with a rounded three-year rolling average of approximately 0.067 events per 200,000 working hours through 2019. Their mechanical availability rate of 97% in 2019 represents highly reliable and industry-leading operations.
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.
- Valero has reduced its environmental incidents by 74% since 2008, to a record low in 2019.
- In 2019, the company matched a record-low mark in air emission intensity, and set new lows in flaring events and energy use per barrel of throughput.
- As Valero's U.S. refinery throughput capacity has risen 32% since 2008, air emission intensity has dropped 49%.
- Valero set an all-time low in refining total energy use, at 0.37 million Btu per barrel of throughput, in 2019, a 24% decrease from 2008.
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 product 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 capacity wind farm that partly powers the McKee refinery, at Sunray, Texas.
Valero operates 14 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.