Safety and environment

Safety is central to the responsible delivery of energy. We develop and operate our facilities with the aim of preventing any incidents that may harm our employees, contract staff or nearby communities, or cause damage to our assets or adversely impact the environment.

We manage safety risks across our businesses through clear standards, controls and compliance systems combined with a safety-focused culture. We focus on the three areas of safety with the highest risks associated with our activities: personal, process and transport.

We continue to strengthen the safety culture and leadership among our employees and contract staff, with the focus on caring for people. We ensure that people responsible for tasks involving a significant safety hazard have the necessary training and skills. Our safety goal is to achieve no harm and no leaks across all our operations. We refer to this as our Goal Zero ambition.

Process safety management is about keeping hazardous substances inside pipes, tanks and vessels so they do not cause any harm to people or the environment. It starts at the design and construction stage of our projects and is implemented throughout the life cycle of these facilities to ensure they are operated safely, well maintained and regularly inspected.

We require incidents to be investigated to understand the underlying causes and seek to translate incident findings into improvements in standards or ways of working that can be applied broadly across similar facilities in Shell.

We are now building on our current approach to safety with a more consistent focus on the way people, culture, equipment, work systems and processes all interact. Many of our fatalities over the last five years were down to the complex interaction between these elements. We aim to better understand the gap between how we anticipate work will be done safely and how the work is actually carried out. We continue to work to prevent incidents by maintaining safety barriers and providing training, and we acknowledge that people make mistakes and not all incidents may be preventable. Therefore, we will focus more on how people can “fail safely”, and on our response in the moment to avoid the risk of a serious injury. This approach is a philosophical change, which we will start to deploy from 2020 onwards for all employees and contractors.


We are committed to protecting the environment. For us, being responsible means understanding the impact Shell can have on the environment and the communities we share it with – before, during and at the end of our operations. We aim to make a positive contribution to the local environments in which we operate and seek to reduce any potential negative environmental impacts. This is why we set ourselves high internal environmental standards. These match and, in some cases exceed, local regulatory requirements.

We continually aim to improve our performance, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. We adhere to external standards and guidelines, such as those developed by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. For us, protecting the environment also means working to transform our product mix over time, for example, by expanding the choice of lower-carbon products that we offer to customers.

Safety and environmental performance

Information on our 2019 safety and environmental performance can be found in Shell’s Sustainability Report.

An employee taking a sample of the river water as part of the safe and responsible water management in action at Fox Creek, Canada (photo)

Safe and responsible water management in action at Fox Creek, Canada