Process Safety

For OMV, process safety management is an integral part of the Group’s overall approach to managing . Process safety management comprises the systematic use of uniform instructions, practices, and specifications to achieve and maintain safe and reliable production. The fundamental components include our organization, resources, management processes, people and equipment performance, the prevailing safety culture, and documented regulations and practices. It covers the management of the hazards associated with the chemical and physical properties of the substances we handle in our oil, gas, and energy activities.

OMV and Borealis process large quantities of flammable and/or toxic materials under high pressure and temperatures that, if not properly handled, could potentially lead to serious process safety incidents. In a worst-case scenario, leaks, fires, or explosions could also cause fatalities. In addition, this could result in a substantial disruption of the supply to customers along with additional costs. Process safety events could at times affect communities in the vicinity of our operations. For this reason, we have robust emergency management plans in place, which are coordinated with the surrounding communities.

Responsible Care (logo)

Responsible Care®

Borealis is committed to implementing the guidelines of the Responsible Care Global Charter which is the chemical industry’s voluntary initiative aimed at continuous improvement in health, safety, and environmental () performance. The guidelines contained in the charter, such as efficient use of natural resources and efforts to avoid the production of waste, are also among the central principles guiding Borealis.

Through Responsible Care, Borealis commits to:

  • ensuring it has a corporate leadership culture which proactively supports safe chemical management through the global Responsible Care initiative;
  • safeguarding people and the environment by continuously improving the HSE performance and security of Borealis’ facilities, processes, and technologies and by driving continuous improvement in chemical product safety and stewardship throughout the supply chain;
  • strengthening chemicals management systems by participating in the development and implementation of life-cycle-oriented, science- and risk-based chemical safety legislation and best practices;
  • influencing business partners to promote the safe management of chemicals within their own operations;
  • engaging stakeholders, understanding and responding to their concerns and expectations for safer operations and products, and communicating openly on Borealis’ performance;
  • contributing to sustainability through improved performance, expanded economic opportunities, and the development of innovative technologies and other solutions to societal challenges.

OMV has implemented comprehensive measures to ensure process safety. Process safety risks are assessed through a variety of process hazard assessments such as (Hazard and Operability) studies, (Quantitative Risk Assessments), and risk assessments according to the Seveso Directive, the main regulation dealing with the control of onshore major accident hazards involving dangerous substances.

In each refinery, we have a dedicated person who heads up the process safety management. This person is in direct contact with and actively collaborates and communicates with all departments that manage process safety as part of their daily business. Comprehensive inspection and maintenance programs are carried out by dedicated departments in asset management. Other key elements of process safety management at the refineries are a comprehensive change management process, pre-startup safety reviews, and continuous monitoring of process safety performance with a robust set of process safety performance indicators.

Borealis has established a Committee, which is managed by Base Chemicals and Operations and includes the participation of relevant senior managers from operations together with Group HSSE/Process Safety. This committee reviews the relevant performance indicators, high-severity process safety accidents and near misses as well as current process safety activities. Regular alignment meetings are held between Group HSSE and local HSE Management as well as between the relevant Group HSE teams (Polyolefins, Base Chemicals, and Fertilizers, Melamine and Technical Nitrogen Products).

In 2020, Borealis continued to make improvements on critical aspects of process safety by updating and creating new corporate procedures that define minimum requirements for safe isolation, handling of flexible hoses, and leak testing. Additionally, a working group was started to define the corporate minimum requirements for a “line breaking and first cut” process.

In addition, a process was set up to enable knowledge sharing across divisions and continuous learning about different sites. Building on this, the effectiveness of protection layers for main equipment (e.g., loop reactors in polyolefin plants) was reviewed using modeling technologies. An HSE boost program was introduced for the newly acquired recycling production sites of Ecoplast and mtm plastics, including updates of critical process safety procedures. (For more information on Borealis’ process safety initiatives, see the Borealis Annual Report 2020.)

Process Safety Events, Tier 1 and Tier 2

Number of events

Process Safety Events (bar chart)

Tier 1 and Tier 2 events provide baseline performance information and are measured each year for a consistent overview of the Company’s process safety performance. In addition, we monitor and report Tier 3 events for better assessment of the critical barriers at facility level. The monitoring and reporting of Tier 3 events provides an overview of the weaknesses in critical barriers at facility level. In 2020, the number of Tier 3 Process Safety Events (PSEs) reported was 4,429 (2019: 4,379). 1 Tier 1, 2, and 3 PSEs as defined by API RP 754

We continued to perform detailed investigations of process safety incidents and used the outcomes in our learning process. In 2020, we defined a harmonized set of process safety across the Group. We also developed a process safety road map at Group level with guidance for the ventures, assets, and refineries on how to compile the road map for their facilities.

Employee competence in the field of process safety is ensured by a well-defined training plan as well as continuous communication of process safety topics and sharing of lessons learned and other relevant process safety information. Scenario-based emergency drills involving the site emergency management team are conducted quarterly in the refineries in addition to regular drills by the fire service.

At Borealis, the required HSE competence is defined by the training for own employees” procedure, which lists the relevant skills and provides a guideline for training employees in relevant HSE processes and practices.

In addition, we established the OMV Group Process Safety Network, creating an online collaboration platform including a reference library, discussion board, and other features. We hosted several online sessions for exchanging process safety knowledge across the Group, with participants from a variety of OMV countries working in different fields of expertise to foster continual learning.

Sustainability Strategy 2025 Target

  • Keep leading position in Process Safety Event Rate

Status 2020

  • 0.18 2 The Process Safety Event Rate scope excludes work hours from the corporate functions General Management (OMV)/Executive Office (OMV Petrom) and Corporate Finance (OMV)/Finance Office (OMV Petrom).

Action Plan to Achieve the Target

  • Improve accuracy of data in the Active Risk Management System, and perform two operational impact assessments and two desktop reviews for confirming the barriers status
  • Develop process safety road map at OMV Group level with guidance for the sites on how to compile the map for their facilities

SDG targets: 3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination; 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally; 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities

1 Tier 1, 2, and 3 PSEs as defined by API RP 754

2 The Process Safety Event Rate scope excludes work hours from the corporate functions General Management (OMV)/Executive Office (OMV Petrom) and Corporate Finance (OMV)/Finance Office (OMV Petrom).

Health, Safety, Security, and Environment
Health, Safety, and Environment
Hazard and Operability
Quantitative Risk Assessment
European Union
process safety
Executive Vice President
key performance indicator
Health, Safety, and Environment