Health & Safety

Petroleum products play a vital role in the day-to-day life of everybody, and confidence in the safety of the industry’s operations is paramount.

Our industry involves potential risks that are greater than those in many other sectors and  therefore stakeholders have a right to expect compliance with a higher set of minimum standards concomitant with the relevant risk.

The member companies of UKPIA all have well developed health and safety policies and procedures. These are constantly under review in the light of new technology, operational experience and the sharing of best practice, as well as legislation.

All the member companies share an approach which seeks to eliminate accidents, harm to people and to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. A good example of this is vapour recovery and bottom loading at storage and distribution terminals. This has contributed to fuel distribution becoming a "closed loop", eliminating the potential hazards associated with drivers having to fill tankers through open lids on top of the tanker, as well as delivering environmental benefits.

UKPIA's role is to foster the sharing of best practice through a number of committees which meet monthly and operate an information exchange system for the sharing of important information between meetings. UKPIA also works closely with other organisations.

In the aftermath of the explosion and fire at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage terminal, Buncefield, in December 2005, a joint Task Group was formed made up of representatives from the industry and regulators (Health and Safety Executive; Environment Agency & SEPA) aimed at identifying best practice to be incorporated into enhanced industry guidelines. The final report was published by the HSE in July 2007.

For the Buncefield Standards Task Group (BSTG) final report, click here (pdf format).

The Buncefield incident and subsequent investigations highlighted the fact that although standards in the downstream sector were generally high, the mechanisms for sharing best practice, experience and more uniform standards, needed improvement.

The initial role of the BSTG was completed with the publication of their final report. However, the need for the industry to demonstrate an ongoing committment to sector leadership on safety standards has resulted in the formation of the Petrochemical Process Safety Leadership Group chaired by Tony Traynor of INEOS Refining.

The PPSLG will aim to build upon the work of the BSTG, particularly in relation to maintaining leadership to improve operating and process safety standards in the petrochemical sector. It will also take forward outstanding matters arising from the BSTG work, examining any other recommendations coming from the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board’s  reports, along with monitoring compliance with all the recommendations.

The PPSLG  includes representatives from industry, trade associations, regulators and trade unions.

Further information on Petrochemical Process Safety Leadership Group