The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Refineries and the Daily Commitment to Safety

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 5, 2017

Good news for the U.S. refining sector and its workers: Federal statistics show refinery employees are six 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. Both reflect the refining sector’s commitment to worker safety and industry standards, as well as careful adherence to state and federal regulations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, refinery job-related injuries and illnesses declined 57 percent from 2005 to 2015:


The chart below provides greater context for this safety record, with 2015 incident rates for work-related injuries and illnesses for various sectors:


These numbers show the refining industry’s continuous effort to minimize the risk to its workers by implementing more than 200 refining safety-related operating standards and work practices. API is a leader in maintaining the refining industry’s safety culture – guided by regulations, standards and industry practices.

A great example is API’s Process Safety Site Assessment Program, which provides refineries with independent, third-party teams of industry-qualified process safety assessors. These experts evaluate the quality and effectiveness of a refinery’s safety management system, identifying areas for improvement while providing opportunities for refiners to share proven engineering safety practices.

Modern refineries are big, complex pieces of energy infrastructure – the largest, located in Port Arthur, Texas, has a capacity of more than 600,000 barrels per day. They cover thousands of acres and support more than 1.2 million jobs and $98 billion in labor income for highly skilled American workers across the country. In all, the country’s 141 refineries have a daily operating capacity of more than 18 million barrels, the highest in 35 years – which translates into the fuels and petrochemicals that U.S. consumers rely on every day.

As the safety numbers above illustrate, the refining industry works hard to promote workplace safety – for its employees, contractors and neighboring communities.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.