Elevated safety: Marathon Petroleum refineries earn place in select industry group

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Anacortes, St. Paul Park, Detroit, sustainability,

AFPM Safety Awards 2021 Infographic

Several Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) refineries have attained a rare industry status through safety performance that earned the highest recognition available from the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). At the recent AFPM Annual Meeting, the organization acknowledged MPC’s   refineries in Anacortes, Washington; Garyville, Louisiana; and St. Paul Park, Minnesota, for performance in 2021 that ranked in the top 1% to 5% of the industry and presented innovation awards to MPC’s Detroit refinery and the company’s refining organization.

More than a cut above

The St. Paul Park refinery is one of only four facilities in the industry to receive the Distinguished Safety Award (DSA), AFPM’s most prestigious honor, which is a first for the site.

“St. Paul Park proved that they were the best of the best in 2021,” said Ray Brooks, Executive Vice President, Refining at MPC. “The review process for this award is extremely demanding and thorough, so this achievement is a tribute to the entire team at St. Paul Park.”

An AFPM selection committee chooses DSA recipients after examining a comprehensive application that includes their safety performance records, industry-leading safety programs and engagement efforts that target leadership, employees and contractors. Following the initial application review, the top eight facilities are invited to the AFPM Annual Meeting for group interviews by safety subject matter experts from AFPM member companies.

“Everything we do is aimed at creating an accident-free, incident-free workplace to make sure employees and contractors can always be there for their loved ones. That’s what it’s all about.”

“Just applying for these awards requires facilities to meet very high standards,” said MPC Director of Refining Safety, Security and Process Safety Management Fritz Kin.  “They must have recordable incident rates for both employees and contractors that are far below industry averages, and no process safety events that had off-site impacts, resulted in recordable injuries or required notification to the National Response Center.”

Applicants that do not receive the DSA may be considered for Elite Gold or Elite Silver Awards. The Anacortes and Garyville refineries are both among the ten winners of Elite Gold Awards, which means their 2021 performance levels were in the industry’s top 5%. Garyville’s Elite Gold Award is its first one, although it earned a DSA in 2000. Anacortes previously won an Elite Gold Award in 2016 as well as Elite Silver Awards in 2021 and in 2015.

Innovating for continuous improvement

The Detroit refinery is one of seven facilities to win an AFPM Innovation Award, which recognizes unique and innovative programs or practices that improve personal or process safety performance. The refinery’s award highlights its development of several smartphone apps that help operators work more safely. These apps include one that lists the potential hazards associated with a variety of tasks and confirms the personal protective equipment, ventilation and other mitigation steps needed to execute each job.

MPC’s refining organization received its innovation award for improving process safety by deploying a device that detects leaks, which often can’t be seen or heard, through the sound frequencies they emit. The Fluke Acoustic Imager pinpoints leaks up to 400 feet away and displays them on its LCD screen, using color variations to form a visual sound map. The refining organization has 28 acoustic imagers in use.

“Everything we do is aimed at creating an accident-free, incident-free workplace to make sure employees and contractors can always be there for their loved ones,” Kin said. “That’s what it’s all about.”