Valero refinery safety check

Tirelessly Focused on Safety

Safety drives reliable, consistent operations that result in lower emissions allowing us to protect the environment and our neighbors.

Working safe means Valero sustains itself long-term, continuing to provide community support, excellent employment opportunities, strong stakeholder value, and reliable and affordable transportation fuels that make modern life possible, in the safest way possible.

Beyond Compliance: Leading the Way for Voluntary Protection

"Going beyond" has been a consistent theme throughout Valero's history, and one of the best examples has been its participation in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and affiliated state safety agencies. Regarded as OSHA's highest-plant safety designation, Valero leads all companies with the most petroleum refineries approved as VPP Star Sites. Valero voluntarily submits to rigorous safety standards and audits and only facilities that have maintained industry-leading safety performance and have successfully passed the assessment process are approved as VPP Star Sites.

Record Setting Safety
At Valero, we take great pride in our safety record and continue to aim for exceptional performance.

Valero Safety Infographic
Valero refinery employee doing safety inspection

Our Employees Are Our
Greatest Asset

Our greatest asset continues to be our employees. In 2019, our Valero refinery employees had their best year ever for safety with a Total Recordable Incident Rate, or TRIR, or 0.25 incidents per 200,000 working hours, well below the industry average and far lower than many other industries. Our combined refinery employee and contractor TRIR was 0.33, nearly an all-time low.

Stewardship, Safety
and Reliability

Through innovation, we are advancing environmental stewardship, process safety and reliability.

Valero refinery employees perform safety check

Environmental Stewardship

Through innovation, we are finding ways to reduce the energy requirements of our business and protect the environment. In 2019, we had the best year in company history in the reduction of environmental incidents, flaring, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of throughput. 

Valero refinery fire crew

Process Safety

We take great pride in our safety record at Valero, as evidenced by our investments in safety and our programs and procedures aimed at preventing injuries. In 2019, our refineries posted their lowest-ever process safety event rate -- meaning they're more reliable than ever. This translated into fewer environmental incidents, a safer workplace, lower environmental impacts and better community relations.

Valero employee performing safety check


High mechanical availability is essential to curb environmental incidents and boost safety.

Our 97% mechanical availability in 2019 reflected our ability to prevent unplanned downtime. Outside of planned downtime (turnarounds), we've achieved more than 99% mechanical availability for the last nine years.

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

We prepare for physical risks to our facilities from natural disasters and other threats allowing us to protect our employees and assets, the communities around our facilities, and the environment.

Emergency Management Planning Our company-wide emergency management process is designed to assess potential risks posed to our people and operations and implement solutions.

  • Emergency response plans at each facility, and a process that complies with all regulations.
  • Qualified response teams and relationships with outside response personnel.
  • A multi-phased hurricane preparedness program to promote the reliability and safety of our assets.
  • Critical capital resources and use of emerging technologies.
  • Regular drills and assessments.
  • Working closely with neighboring communities to ensure their safety.
  • Raised elevation for new infrastructure and other preventative measures to reduce physical risks.
Valero Renewable employees conduct safety check on equipment

STAR Metric

The STAR (Safety Tracking and Recognition) Metric is our newest safety program for ethanol plants. This program recognizes top performing ethanol plants in five key areas: 

  • Process Safety
  • Reliability
  • Environmental
  • Rail Safety
  • Policy and Procedure Compliance

Each quarter we recognize plants achieving zero incidents in all five areas. Plants that go four consecutive quarters without an incident earn a Super STAR award.

Goal Zero: Nobody Gets Hurt

Valero Ardmore Refinery employees conduct safety inspection

Under our new “Goal Zero” program, we reviewed incident data across our refinery system and identified six areas to help drive even safer operations:

  • Heavy Equipment/Vehicle Operations
  • Energy Isolation and Control
  • Contractor Safety Management
  • Hand Awareness and Safety
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Dropped Objects

We are focused on improvement in each of those areas.

We also have developed a Control of Hazardous Energy and Materials (CHEM) assessment, looking at refinery processes from the preparation of equipment for maintenance to the way the equipment is placed back into service afterward.

These assessments closely examine the human aspect of our processes and challenge our team to really focus on the procedures designed to protect them. Valero’s innovative data-based approach and focus on key areas are designed to bring incident and injury rates down to nothing. Because zero is our goal.

Safety Data Sheets

Safety data sheets provide, in a standard format, product safe use and handling information regarding potential hazards, and how to respond to emergencies.