Report on Sustainability 2019

Personal and process safety

We place safety above all else. It’s our number-one value and nothing matters more.

We work to continuously learn, share and improve safety efforts by embedding safety leadership into our culture, fully engaging all employees in safety and providing a safe work environment for all employees and contractors.

In April 2019, a contractor fatality occurred at Fort Hills. The individual was struck by a light vehicle. This tragic loss of a colleague reminds us that we can never stop thinking about safety.

2018 safety performance

Suncor’s 2018 combined employee and contractor Recordable Injury Frequency (RIF) performance was 0.37, close to the annual target of 0.36, and the second best on record. Our Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) for 2018 was 0.02.

Suncor-wide absolute GHG emissions chart
Suncor-wide absolute GHG emissions chart
* For additional information about these charts and their data, please refer to performance data notes (#12 – notes on health and safety).

Personal safety

We believe that a ‘zero incident’ workplace is achievable, and we promote workforce safety dialogues and participation through various activities and processes, including:

  • Incident management: Suncor’s incident management process provides a framework by which we can consistently respond to, investigate and identify the causes of incidents and near misses within our operations. Incident findings are shared across the enterprise to promote learning from incidents and to prevent them from reoccurring.
  • Serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention: Our SIF program is designed to improve the awareness and management of SIF exposures in our operations. The goal is to bring visibility to SIF exposures, allowing the organization to identify and address their precursors.
  • Safety initiatives: Suncor’s safety initiatives are intended to inform, increase awareness, and provide data and recommendations to prevent incidents or losses. Examples of safety initiatives include efforts to address common mechanisms of recordable injury incidents, such as slips, trips and falls and being in the line of fire.
  • Engagement: All employees and contractors are responsible for and committed to safety, including following our Life Saving Rules. To drive and promote the expected safety behaviours we hold regular safety meetings to exchange information and concerns and increase safety awareness. We engage in toolbox talks at worksites focusing on specific hazards, and if a situation or incident merits, –we pause scheduled work for safety stand-down sessions to reflect on performance and reinforce our commitment to safety.

Contractor safety

Each year, we hire thousands of contractors to perform work at Suncor job sites. Our contractor management process helps drive safe, productive execution of work on our sites. It’s our ‘one way’ approach to manage contractors.

One requirement of the process is that contractors must complete a comprehensive hazard checklist for each scope of work, and develop an Environment, Health and Safety plan to address those hazards.

Health and wellness

Our employee health and wellness programs are administered by specialists in Occupational Health, Disability Management, and Occupational Hygiene. These professionals are subject matter experts who assist workers in achieving greater health and work-life balance within a safe work environment.

Suncor’s Journey to Zero objectives, operational excellence and people values are reflected in the standards, processes and procedures we use to manage health events employees may experience. We provide resources to all employees in the event of an occupational or nonwork-related injury or illness to positively influence a safe, timely and sustainable return to work and ensure strict adherence to employee privacy and confidentiality.

Emergency management

Effective emergency management is integral to protecting our workers, the environment and our operations. It encompasses prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and business continuity activities.

Our integrated model is an important part of our operational excellence management system (OEMS). By using established protocols, we can effectively respond to emergencies and unplanned events.

Our employees and contractors regularly conduct training, emergency drills and tabletop exercises to reinforce, verify and improve our emergency preparedness capabilities. Practice prepares us for unplanned situations. Debriefs emphasize learnings and increase effectiveness across all business units. We seek to learn and share lessons from drills, exercises and real events across our business to continuously improve preparedness and response capabilities.

Two workers at the Edmonton Refinery

Process safety

Suncor is focused on reducing loss of primary containment incidents by assessing incidents and prioritizing gap closure and continuous improvement opportunities. Effective management has ensured alignment across the company to identify opportunities and accelerate performance improvement. Recent improvements include a focus on the quality of process hazard analyses, including digitization of information to improve the efficiency of business processes and competency in consistent identification, and assessment of consequences and likelihood of process safety risks.


Through a robust governance structure, senior leadership sets enterprise priorities and manages initiatives to ensure a focused effort on maintaining and improving reliability. Stewardship of key indicators and benchmarking is an important component to ensure progress and sustainment of reliability elements such as asset criticality assignments, strategies, root-cause analysis, work execution, bad-actor elimination and safety instrumented systems (SIS) integrity.

SIS improvement

These systems are key controls to mitigate process safety and reliability risks. A team of Suncor Process Automation Systems experts continuously work towards improving SIS management. Through this team, Suncor incorporates industry best practices into existing functional safety management programs, to ensure consistency and effectiveness.

Operational controls

Operating procedures, safe work practices and operating envelopes enable our front-line employees to manage operational risks. We continue to raise the bar by implementing new standards across the company. Increasing the effectiveness of operational controls helps us manage personal and process safety risks and supports reliability improvement initiatives.

Suncor applies the OEMS to manage process safety and reliability.

We look at lessons from incident investigations to improve process safety and reliability performance. This ensures learnings are embedded in our work practices and mitigating actions are implemented to prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents. We use audits and management reviews to ensure our practices are effective and that we continuously improve.

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Recommended readings
Performance data
Suncor's Journey to Zero Program