Health and safety

Preem has a zero-tolerance attitude when it comes to health and safety. Zero tolerance means that no one should suffer an injury or become ill because of their job, and that no accidents should occur that result in injuries to people or damage to environment or property. This applies to all parts of our business – in the refining, storage and transportation of our raw materials and products. Putting safety first should always be second nature to everyone at Preem.

Materiality and risk

Putting safety first should be incorporated into every part of Preem’s business and this is a given considering the type of work we do. We handle large quantities of flammable materials that are heated and subject to high pressure. We also use chemicals that can cause injury if handled incorrectly. Our refineries and depots are subject to a risk of explosions, fires and spills. Employees in our business do heavy lifting and use advanced tools. We must always keep safety in focus to protect our employees, our facilities, and our immediate environment and neighbors.

Governance and activities

Preem’s operations are subject to extensive government regulations. Our refineries and some of our depots are classified as protective property, which means visitors to the site need to adhere to special safety regulations. In addition, much of our safety efforts are governed by our Safety, Health and Environment, Policy. Our Code of Conduct also serves as guidance for safety in collaboration with our suppliers by addressing issues such as production liability and the work environment. The large contractor companies that work at our refineries are also subject to special audits with a focus on the work environment and safety in the context of procurement processes; these companies must be approved before contracts are signed.

Preem’s management system ensures compliance with our Safety, Health and Environment Policy, that all facility safety requirements are identified, met and evaluated, and that improvement measures are always being taken. Our refineries are certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18000, which becomes ISO 45001 in early 2018.

Employees – stepped up safety efforts

Preem measures and sets goals for the number of absences due to accidents per million hours worked. Up to now, Preem’s best year in personal injury statistics was 2016, when the outcome was 1.4 as compared to 2015’s 2.1. We further improved this figure to 1.0 in 2017.

These improved results are related to Preem’s enhanced focus on safety efforts over several years. In 2012, a safety climate survey was conducted in the Refining business area and annual days with focus on safety were introduced for all employees. The Safety First concept was launched the following year to create a positive safety culture within Preem. A newsletter called Säkerhetsnytt (Safety News) was also started at that time and is still distributed each month.

In addition, we added more safety performance indicators in recent years and follow them up internally. We have also set goals for the number of reported deviations to reduce the risk of deviations not being reported, which has been defined as a challenge. The reporting rate is currently rising as a positive result of this new goal. These initiatives, and others, have contributed to reducing the number of absences due to accidents in recent years.

Measuring the safety climate

In 2017, we followed up the initial 2012 safety climate survey. The safety climate survey measures issues such as how employees perceive the prioritization and management of safety efforts at Preem and how employees see their own role in safety matters. The results of the survey serve both as a report on the present situation and as a basis for future improvement.

Preem’s facilities

The extensive risk analyses and safety audits conducted when a new facility is built or when existing facilities are rebuilt serve as the foundation for safety at Preem’s facilities. The general principle is to build facilities that are as safe as possible from the outset and then continuously keep all risks under control. Several regular activities are conducted to maintain this control such as daily monitoring, ongoing inspections and regular safety rounds.

Preem’s refineries are shut down every six years to enable a complete overhaul of the facilities and their equipment. The Gothenburg refinery was shut down for 48 days in 2017. A wide range of work was performed by 1,700 employees and contractors, including inspections, x-ray checks, crack detection, cleaning and repairs.

Measuring proactive safety activities

In 2016, Preem introduced a safety certification program for the contractors working on site during the refinery turnaround. The program defines proactive safety activities that the contractors may engage in during the turnaround to earn Preem’s safety certificate. We believe in rewarding proactive initiatives such as these.

The ability to cope with a variety of potential crisis situations is required for functional and well-established safety efforts. Every year, Preem carries out several major safety exercises at our facilities, which include simulations of fires or spills. We have our own fire and rescue service at the Lysekil refinery with fire trucks customized for gas fires.

All safety-related deviations that occur at Preem’s facilities are investigated so countermeasures can be taken. In the event of a severe incident at any of the facilities, we take a “timeout”. We then inform affected employees via the Säkerhetsnytt newsletter, providing an initial indication of what needs to be considered. Then there will be an incident investigation with the results being presented to the relevant persons in senior management, who will decide what measures should be taken.

Preem’s suppliers must meet requirements

Preem’s numerous suppliers (contractors and subcontractors) serve as our extended arm. It is critical that we both take responsibility for the well-being of our contractors and ensure that they take safety as seriously as Preem’s own employees. Our Code of Conduct serves as a key factor for assuring this in all our procurement processes. It also addresses work environment issues such as those involving health and safety.

All Preem’s contractors must undergo basic training before they can work at Preem’s facilities. Many of the contractors also undergo specially tailored training for the part of the facility in which they will perform work, and the drivers that load and unload at Preem’s depots complete special training before they begin working for us.

Safe transportation at sea and on land

More than 2,000 vessels depart from Preem’s ports every year, and we do our utmost to ensure that every one of them reaches their destination as safely as possible. Preem places heavy demands on the shipping companies we sign collaboration agreements with. For example, we require that ships on long-term leases are approved in accordance with Preem’s standards for safety and technical equipment and that they have a double hull design and approved wastewater treatment. All tankers transporting cargo to and from Preem’s depots or refineries are regularly vetted by inspectors for approval in line with our requirements.

Preem’s road deliveries are conducted through external logistics companies that have their own well-defined safe driving requirements. In addition, we impose our own requirements on suppliers, such as alcohol locks on all road tankers and speed limiters on all vehicles, set at a maximum speed of 80 km/h.

We take customers and product liability seriously

Swedish legislation is among the strictest in Europe when it comes to health-related product requirements. Far from all refineries can produce fuel that meets requirements such as the maximum quantity of carcinogenic aromatic compounds permitted for use in Sweden – but Preem can. Preem also aims to exceed the statutory requirements. For example, we were the first to produce an unleaded fuel after health problems associated with lead emerged. We were also the first to develop a sulfur-free fuel and have maintained much lower sulfur content in our diesel than the average European diesel. Europe has begun catching up in terms of sulfur in recent years, and we think that is great news!


Our intensive efforts to improve health and safety at Preem are continuing. We have an ongoing investment project to increase the number of installed fire and gas detectors in our refinery areas to ensure early detection of any leaks or fires. Our monitoring program and regular plant inspections will remain just as critical in the future.