Excellence in Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) performance is a top priority for INEOS. We aim to meet or exceed all legislative requirements in these areas. We set annual performance targets and are committed to continuous improvement in all aspects of our operations.
At INEOS we create culture that reinforces our SHE performance. We aim to minimise the impact our facilities have on local people and local environments. This means working in close partnership with community groups and key stakeholders to ensure that we are a responsible neighbour and partner.
Efficiency is absolutely central to our business. As a producer of commodity chemicals the efficiency of our processes has a significant impact on our profitability. We have a clear focus on reducing energy and material inputs and a clear priority to minimise waste. This means that we can minimise costs as well as reducing environmental impacts.
Our approach to safety is equally rigorous and is focused on three key areas, which cover activity both inside and outside our facilities:
- Process safety, which involves continual safety improvements to existing manufacturing processes, as well as designing new processes
- Behavioural / Human factor safety, which involves instilling a safety culture among all our employees to ensure INEOS is a safe place to work
- Product safety, ensuring that INEOS products are used, handled, stored and disposed of responsibly by our customers
Instilling a safety culture at INEOS
It is the responsibility of everyone at INEOS to ensure the highest standards of health and safety in everything that we do. Our commitment to safety starts at the top, with the Executive Board of each INEOS business being responsible for safety performance. All employees and contractors receive extensive safety training, participate in safety teams, contribute to incident learning, and suggest ongoing improvements in safety standards and procedures.
The INEOS safety principles define what is expected of all our employees, contractors and businesses on a day-to-day basis. Each INEOS business is measured on its adherence to the principles and on its performance against specific safety targets. Safety performance is also linked to our employee bonus scheme, which further helps to embed a safety culture.
We focus our attention on safety in both the processes we apply and the behaviour we expect.
Systems and operational procedures have safety built in to ensure the plant and equipment is being operated properly. Any changes in processes or procedures are subject to a risk assessment and, if necessary, a hazard study to analyse any potential safety risks or impacts. We have strict emergency procedures and if required, a plant can be shut down completely until an issue is fully resolved.
Everyone has responsibility for ensuring a safe working environment for themselves and their co-workers and speaking up about safety issues is encouraged. We encourage near miss reporting so that we can learn from these, and put in place corrective action to ensure that incidents can be avoided.
The success of our business depends on ensuring a safe environment for our staff and the wider community around each of our sites, which is why safety is our highest priority.
Customers and product stewardship
All chemicals should be handled responsibly. INEOS works with our customers to ensure that they have the information, procedures and facilities to receive, store, and use our products safely.
The European Union regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) ensures that companies like INEOS manage the risk associated with their products and provide customers with the information they need to handle them safely. INEOS’ commitment to the principles of responsible care means that we often go far beyond REACH in the stewardship we apply to our products.
INEOS Nitriles, is a good example. Customers must meet our specific health and safety criteria before we begin supplying them. We carry out a technical and safety visit of each potential customer to check that their equipment, safety protocols and procedures meet stringent standards and we work with them to make any necessary improvements before making deliveries. Once they become a customer we continue to run periodic safety checks. Our Safe Handling Guides and training videos help Nitriles customers maintain the highest safety standards and our specialist technical teams are always on hand to offer advice and support.
To ensure safe transport of our products, all Nitriles customers must use approved logistics service providers. We also audit safety standards at all of the major transport hubs that our products pass through, such as ports, terminals and warehouses.
The Nitriles Business also holds Product Stewardship Conferences, in the US and Europe, which bring customers together to review latest developments in safety. The last such 3-day event was held in Houston, Texas and involved delegates from 15 different countries including those as far apart as Japan, China, Poland, Mexico and Germany. Customers attended presentations on a wide variety of topics including updates on product safety research studies, the latest best practice in transport safety, and forthcoming changes to legislation in the US and Europe. Customers were also taken on a tour of the nearby INEOS plant to see our safety work in action, adding real value to our ongoing partnership with them.
Reducing energy consumption
Saving energy has always been a fundamental part of how we operate at INEOS because it makes good business sense. Climate change considerations and legislation in some of our operating countries mean we are also committed to meeting strict targets for CO2 emissions. Our strategy is to first reduce our own energy use as much as possible and then to use the lowest carbon sources of energy that we can.
This approach is clearly illustrated at our Runcorn site in the north of England. By investing in infrastructure and new process technology, the Runcorn plant has been optimised to run in the most energy efficient way possible. Initiatives we have implemented over the last few years include the installation of high efficiency motors as well as energy meters that allow managers to have instant access to real-time data on energy use. We also installed a new boiler plant and invested in a new centralised control room and pan-site process automation system, both of which have improved energy efficiency. Overall, these changes have led to energy savings in the last ten years of nearly 18% and annual CO2 savings of around 250,000 tonnes per year.
We have invested more than £400 million in new chlorine cellrooms at Runcorn, which use the latest membrane technology. This technology delivered primary energy savings compared to the older mercury technology used.
Having reduced energy consumption at our Runcorn site we have built what will be the largest energy from waste Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in the UK. This new plant will use Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) from municipal waste. Ultimately the plant will produce 70 MW of electricity and 50MW of steam heat, which will mean that up to 20% of the Runcorn site’s total energy use will come from renewable sources.
Carbon smart logistics
Transportation is a major user of energy and producer of carbon emissions. Fortunately, in supply chain logistics, the most environmentally friendly mode of transport is nearly always also the most cost effective. In addition, the most carbon efficient mode of transport for us is also reduces risk from a health and safety perspective. At INEOS we focus on driving down both the cost and the environmental impact of our transportation needs, while maintaining our high quality and safety standards.
The most efficient approach to transporting commodity chemicals is to avoid transportation in the first place. Where we can, INEOS will negotiate product “swaps” with other production units of the same commodity chemical closer to a customer to avoid transportation altogether. This may involve other suppliers. If this is not possible the next best option is via a pipeline. We encourage INEOS customers to co-locate on the same industrial sites as us, which means that we can deliver product directly via underground pipes. Our next preferred option is to use a ship or barge, then rail and finally, road. As part of our work with our transport providers we also strongly advocate training for drivers on fuel-efficient driving.
Through our cross-business supply chain network, managers meet regularly to share best practice including how to make the most of low carbon logistics. In addition, all our suppliers are required, through our contractual arrangement with them, to be most efficient in in providing a service on our behalf. With large tenders we aim to leverage the size of the contract to drive further fuel and cost efficiencies. This mindset together with efficient transport planning helps us to drive cost and carbon savings across our supply chain.