Health and safety

Two male workers at the Base Plant truck shop holding a clipboard, with haul trucks in the background.

The safety and well-being of our people is fundamental to our success and to achieving our purpose – to provide trusted energy that enhances people’s lives, while caring for each other and the earth.

We value safety above all else and believe that we all play a role in safety excellence, and it starts with our leadership who set high expectations, support continual improvement and create a safety-first culture. Our people bring it to reality with daily execution, ongoing operational discipline and care for their fellow workers.

Together, we are committed to safety excellence.

Safety above all else

As part of our commitment to ongoing operational and safety improvement, in 2021, we created an Operational Risk Management team. This team adds operational expertise and support and centralizes our risk management functions, improving our ability to identify and manage risk, and drive improved performance.

We apply a systematic approach to safety. Our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) ensures we use standardized processes, data and tools to reduce risk, simplify work and improve performance. It drives how we work every day to keep people and the environment safe, while also delivering reliable and efficient results.

We are committed to the well-being of our employees and contractors. We work to create an open, encouraging culture where everyone, regardless of role or title, feels confident to raise concerns, report hazards and encourage everyone to be a safety leader.

We use audits, assessments and management reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of our controls, and to provide the data required to continuously improve the OEMS. This ensures our practices are effective and prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents. We also use third-party experts to validate, enhance and improve our safety practices and processes.

Committed to continuous improvement

Suncor’s and Syncrude’s health and safety management system has been voluntarily and externally audited under the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for our Alberta assets. To be certified, third-party audits occur every three years, and include document reviews, employee interviews and site observations; interim maintenance audits are required. Certification confirms the systems we have in place to protect our workers meet the provincial standards of Alberta Occupational Health & Safety and industry best practice.

Employees and contractors at the East Tank Farm talk to each other daily about all aspects of safety
Employees at our East Tank Farm (ETF) celebrating 1,830 days, and counting, without a single incident to report.

Evolving our safety journey

We are committed to learning from the past and finding ways to drive improved performance. Our approach to safety is built on a foundation of leadership with a focus on fatality prevention, strong contractor relationships, ongoing education and knowledge sharing, and effective controls.

Together, these aspects contribute to reducing safety incidences and eliminating workplace fatalities. These efforts are backstopped by robust risk mitigation and effective recovery systems when incidents do occur, to keep our people safe from harm and our operations running.

This approach also involves increased engagement with our workforce to benefit from their insight and expertise to help solve complex safety challenges and design practical and effective safety management systems and protocols. Advances in technology also provide further opportunities for us to improve our safety practices.

Emergency management

Effective emergency management is crucial in protecting people, property and the environment. We use a standardized, enterprise-wide approach to ensure effective and efficient response to incidents that is aligned with governments, regulators and our peers. All our operating sites follow a schedule of tabletop and field-based emergency drills.

Health and wellness

Well-being isn’t one-dimensional. We take a holistic approach to wellness by understanding four interconnected elements of well-being – social, psychological, financial, and physical – and their effect on overall health. We strive to foster a workplace where we take care of each other and people feel safe and supported.

Foundational safety principles, such as mind on task, can only be achieved when we are healthy and well, both physically and mentally. We continue to evaluate the needs of our team and provide support to focus on overall well-being, including psychological well-being.

Resources are available year-round, including counselling support, to help people manage their mental health and work safely. Through these tools and resources, we empower leaders and individuals to take responsibility for well-being and embed that mindset across the organization.

Our training programs and resources promote a psychologically safe environment and help break the stigma around mental health issues.