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Refinery & Plant Safety

API members are committed to protecting the health and safety of their workers and the community. To this end, the refining industry has made significant investments in programs, training, standards and practices, and equipment that have led to occupational and process safety performance improvements.  These investments continue as part of the industry’s overall continuous improvement effort.

API has developed and maintains more than 180 refining safety and operational standards and recommended practices under its American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited program.  API and its member companies are committed to ensuring that all industry standards contain the latest science and technologies, they recognize proven industry practices and incorporate lessons-learned from past incidents and near misses.  These standards have been incorporated by reference into Federal, State and International regulations.  These resources are published and updated to reflect the latest science, technologies and enhanced practices and procedures. Click here to view a read only copy of those API documents incorporated by references. An account will have to be created to access, but once it is, all can be viewed.

API member companies also comply with safety regulations. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) is a comprehensive federal regulation developed as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments that required the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) to promulgate a safety standard to prevent accidental releases of chemicals that could pose a threat to employees. The petroleum industry is concerned that application of PSM to low-hazard petroleum operations, including onshore production and atmospheric storage tanks, would result in a significant regulatory burden to refineries and onshore producing facilities.

API helps member companies engage in advocacy, education and awareness as it relates to OSHA and EPA regulations, as well as regulations at the state and local levels.  API also engages with other government agencies, such as the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, to support the overall mission of safety. 

API works with other groups such as the American Chemistry Council, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and National Fire Protection Association on advocacy, standards, common programs, etc.

These efforts are improving safety at refineries and plants in the United States. Refinery employees are five times less likely to be injured on the job than workers in other manufacturing sectors, and the refining industry’s rate is steadily trending downward. From 2008 to 2017, the refining sector has seen a steady decrease in job-related nonfatal injuries and illnesses (from 1.1 to 0.7 per 100 full time workers).  API is proud of its membership’s commitment to safety performance and improvement. 

Learn more about how API member companies keep safe their refinery workers safe. 

Fire Protection

Refineries and plants have specialized fire safety needs. API strongly supports the principles of fire prevention as elements for personnel and property protection in the petroleum industry. Prevention programs provide the most effective means of ensuring personnel safety. API provides a forum for its members to share information and develop industry standards to advance safety and loss prevention programs. Currently, API maintains about 30 safety and fire protection standards and recommended practices.

Occupational Safety

API’s members that operate refineries and plants support a mission to promote safe, healthful, efficient, and environmentally sound practices, specifically when it relates to occupational safety.  When tasks like confined space entry or working at heights are completed, extra caution must be taken.  Through the API Safety & Fire Protection Group, a forum is provided for members to share information and develop industry standards to advance best practices for these critical jobs, as well as others, all to ensure employees are safe and the environment is protected. Additionally, this team works to provide input to OSHA and other relevant government agencies on the practical ways to enforce and regulate occupational safety.

Process Safety

API member companies are committed to conducting business in a manner that protects the safety and health of their employees, others involved in their operations, customers, and the public. Process safety is part of safety management and focuses on the concerns of major hazards impacting, safety, environmental damage and business losses. The goal of process safety management is to develop plant systems and procedures to prevent unwanted releases that may ignite and cause toxic impacts, local fires or explosions.

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