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European downstream safety performance in 2018

13 November 2019

Concawe, the European downstream industry organisation, has published personal safety performance results for 2018. This article is based on selected sections of Concawe Report 6/19 – ‘European downstream oil industry safety performance - Statistical summary of reported incidents 2018’ - and provides comparisons with the industry’s safety performance over previous years. 

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

In 2009, Concawe began to compile Process Safety Performance Indicator (PSPI) data. These describe the number of Process Safety Events (PSE) expressed as unintended Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC). The 2018 PSE data represents 40 out of 42 of the manufacturing companies.

1. Fatalities

There were ten fatalities reported for 2018. Six contractors died following a single explosion at a fuel loading terminal serving a refinery. A further three fatalities were recorded as a result of road accidents. All were engaged in marketing activities. A tanker truck driver (own staff) was fatally injured when the vehicle left a motorway and overturned. Equipment reliability and human factors were identified as causal factors in this incident. One contractor died as a result of losing control of a vehicle on a straight road and another contractor died following collision with a stationary vehicle on a highway. Both incidents reported human factors as the sole causal factor.

A single manufacturing contractor was also fatally injured in an incident categorised as Struck by - no further details of this incident have been provided.

This represents a significant rise in annual number of fatalities following two consecutive years of the lowest number of annual fatalities recorded (two fatalities in both 2016 and 2017). The 2018 data indicate that continued efforts are essential to achieve the target of zero fatalities in the Downstream industry.

Concawe members study lost workday injuries (LWI) in addition to fatalities to identify further opportunities for continuous safety performance improvement.

2018 has seen a severe reversal in the downward trend over recent years in numbers of fatalities in European downstream oil industry figures. Annual fatalities in 2018 are at the highest level since 2012 for manufacturing and since 2016 for marketing.

Increased focus on understanding causal factors and putting in place clearly defined preventative actions are required to achieve and sustain our objective of zero fatalities.

In 2013, the membership agreed to adopt 15 incident categories to describe both fatalities and lost workday injury (LWI) in an attempt to learn more from the actual incidents. These categories allow for better benchmarking and alignment with other industry organisations, particularly the IOGP that represents the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

Since Concawe moved to reporting fatalities against the same 16 categories as lost workday injury in 2013, Explosions or burns (twelve fatalities), Road accident (seven fatalities) and Struck by (six fatalities) have been the largest contributors to fatalities in the industry. Together, the three categories account for approximately 74% of the fatalities experienced in the industry since 2013. Two of the 34 fatalities in this period have not been allocated to a category.

Until 2013, Concawe compiled fatality data against broad categories that could change year to year. Expanding this to 16 distinct categories provided for greater transparency of cause and better benchmarking, but risked losing information on longer term trends. However, by revisiting pre-2013 data, a reasonably consistent pattern can be seen.

Explosion or burns and Road Accidents are the most prevalent fatal incident categories recorded in the period 2009-2018. Road accidents have declined as an overall percentage of all fatalities compared to 1998-2008 when they represented almost half of all fatalities. No fatal road accidents were recorded in 2016 and 2017 but in 2018 three people were fatally injured in separate road accidents.

Falls from height and Struck by categorised incidents are the next most prevalent, the former category accounting for over 10% of fatalities over the last 10 years.

2. Lost workday injuries

In 2018, there were a total of 586 lost workday injuries, with 56% of these in manufacturing and 44% in marketing. Manufacturing LWI are split evenly across staff and contractors whereas marketing LWI are more prominent among staff (59%), than contractors (41%).

There was an overall increase in lost workday injury frequency (LWIF) compared to 2017. The LWIF went from 0.97 LWI/Mh in 2017 to 1.02 LWI/Mh in 2018 across all workers. Thirty-five companies reported LWI in both 2018 and 2017. Of these, 17 companies (49%) reported a lower overall LWIF in 2018 than in 2017, 4 companies had the same LWIF in 2017 and 2018 (11%) and 14 companies (40%) had a higher LWIF in 2018.

Manufacturing staff are the sector with the highest LWIF (1.50 in 2018, compared with 1.53 in 2017) and marketing contractors have the lowest recorded LWIF of all sectors in 2018 and the largest improvement in LWIF since last year (0.73 in 2018, compared with 0.81 in 2017). Marketing staff LWIF rose modestly from 0.95 to 0.97 in 2018.

It has long been accepted that to achieve a sustainable zero-fatality safety performance a company must continually work to reduce lower level safety incidents (such as lost workday injuries, restricted workday injuries, medical treatment cases, first aid cases and near misses). Although lower level incidents such as slips and trips can result in relatively minor consequences, the actual root causes behind both minor and major incidents generally prove to be very similar.

The effective investigation of all incidents (near miss, minor and major) to obtain a full understanding of their root causes is therefore essential for the creation of a supportive safety culture and the fostering of the right organisational behaviours necessary to achieve zero incidents or accidents in operations.

A relatively small number of categories contribute to most LWIs reported. Slips and Trips (same height), Struck by and Falls from Height together account for almost 54% of all LWIs reported in 2018 and this holds true for each sector, manufacturing and marketing, as detailed in Table 5. Other frequent categories include Explosion and Burns and Caught in, under or between in manufacturing (9.8% and 8.9% of manufacturing LWI) and Cut, Puncture, Scrape and Overexertion, Strain (9.0% and 6.7% of marketing LWI). Slight differences between the sectors emerge between less frequent LWI categories.

Concentrating on the most frequent categories of these incidents offers the opportunity to address prevention of lost workday injury across both sectors.

For the first time in 2018, Concawe collected causal factors where available for each LWI. Causal factors are described in alignment with API RP754 (2016) and multiple factors may be recorded per LWI. Causal factors were not available for 23% of LWI (135 LWI incidents). In many cases, this reflects ongoing investigations and causal factors for such incidents may be recorded by Concawe in future.

The most commonly reported causal factors across all LWI are Human Factors (34% of causal factors reported), Safe Work Practices & Procedures (13%), Risk Assessment (10%), Procedures (7%) and Design (7%). There was little difference in the application of these factors in manufacturing and marketing related incidents with Human Factors and Work Practices & Procedures, consistently the first and second most frequently reported factor, respectively. Manufacturing incidents reported Risk Assessment and Equipment Reliability as third and fourth most frequent causal factors. Procedures and Risk Assessment were the third and fourth most frequently reported causal factors in marketing incidents.

There was little difference between the most frequently reported causal factors in some of the most commonly occurring incident categories. Human Factors was the most commonly assigned causal factor in Slips and Trips, Falls from Height, Road Accident and Struck by LWI incidents in both manufacturing and marketing. Risk Assessment, Safe Work Practices & Procedures, Procedures and Design were also commonly reported causal factors in these incident types. Manufacturing Explosion and Burns LWI incidents most frequently reported Risk Assessment as a causal factor.

3. Performance trends over the last 10 years

Performance indicators are particularly useful for identifying trends and patterns when considered over time. The historical trends for the European downstream oil industry over the past ten years are summarised in this section. Ten years has been chosen as a period reasonably representative of actual operating conditions and practices in place within the industry.

Since Concawe began collecting LWI data against the 16 categories in 2013 a pattern has been emerging in the data. As in fatalities, a limited number of causes contribute to most LWIs. In 2018, almost 70% of LWIs were caused by the following, Slips & Trips (same height) 33%, Struck by 11.5%, Falls from Height 9.6%, Cut, Puncture, Scrape 8.6% and Caught in under between 7.2%.

The latter category was more prominent in 2018 than in 2017, while incidents related to Overexertion and strain were less frequent in 2018 (5.5% compared to 9.5% in 2017). However, the pattern of categories is broadly consistent year to year and similar across both manufacturing and marketing.

For the first time in 2018, Concawe collected information about LWI incident categories split between staff and contractors. For the most frequent LWI incident category, Slips and Trips, the staff / contractor split is 65 / 35%. Other LWI incident categories provide a more equal split. The percentage staff / contractor split for Explosion or burns is 42 / 58, Struck by 52 / 48, Road Accident 50 / 50 and Falls 46 / 54.
While there is no direct correlation between categories of LWI and fatalities, the data suggest that focus on reducing LWI in three areas could have the potential to address the causes of the majority of fatal incidents reported in recent years.

These areas are:

* Process Safety to address Explosion, Burns and Pressure Release-related incidents
* Operational Safety focused on Struck by, Caught in under and between and Working at Height
* Road Safety

The main performance indicators over the past 10 years across all workers show: Fatal accident rate FAR is 1.73 in 2018, the highest since 2012. The Lost Workday Injury Frequency LWIF of 1.02 is the highest since 2014 when it was 1.08. Similarly, the All Incident Frequency AIF of 2018 is 1.89, similar to that in 2017 (1.90) and higher than the best performance of 1.59 in 2016.

The Road Accident Rate RAR has decreased from 0.41 in 2017 to 0.29 in 2018, the lowest rate ever recorded. This is accompanied by an approximate 9% rise in km driven since 2017. It is not clear to what extent this observation is impacted by changes in reporting activities.

For the full report, go to: www.concawe.eu/wp-content/uploads/European-downstream-oil-industry-safety-performance.pdf


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