European downstream oil industry safety performance

CONCAWE has released a report that parses statistics on work-related personal injuries for the European downstream oil industry’s own employees as well as contractors for the year 2009. Data were received from 33 companies representing more than 97% of the European refining capacity.  COWCAWE has been studying this subject for 17 years, dating back to 1993.

The most important finding of the report is that 11 fatalities occurred in 2009. Following a steady downward trend during the 1990s, fatality numbers began to increase in the first year of this decade. CONCAWE analyzed statistics from 2004-06 and they revealed a reversal of upswing and the fatality numbers have shown little variation since then. Marketing contractors continues to be the most vulnerable work group. The fatal accident rate (FAR) continues to be at a level similar to that observed in the late 1990s.

CONCAWE’s research suggests that all injury frequency (AIF) peaked around 1996-97, but this is likely the result of improved reporting standards. The group contends that the trend is definitely on a downward slope and AIF figures have improved for all categories.  Road traffic accidents were clearly reduced compared to the early years but the rate appears to have now reached a plateau. These accidents essentially occur in the refined products marketing activity where the bulk of the driving takes place.

The report offers figures detailing the causes for the 11 fatalities in 2009.  In 2009, three fatalities occurred in one incident due to confined space operation, three were due to road accidents and two were as a result of falling from height. Of the remaining three, one was a result of construction/maintenance activities, one from burning/electrocution and the last from other industrial activities. For the last five year period, construction/maintenance/operations activities and road accidents remain the principal causes of fatalities.

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