Dedicated Environment, Safety and Health Organization

As the expectations of our stakeholders continue to grow with respect to our ability to operate in a safe, environmentally responsible and sustainable manner, it is essential to continue strengthening our commitment to improve our ESH performance. Our employees, the communities we work in, regulators and our investors look to our company to provide long-term sustainability around these initiatives.

To meet these needs, a dedicated and independent ESH organization was created to address the stakeholder-and industry-focus toward environmental sustainability and provide specific responsibilities for guiding our leadership efforts around ESH.

  • The organization consists of four groups:
  • Safety and Health
  • Management Systems
  • Technical Training
  • ESH Sustainability

ONEOK continues to perform well in providing a safe workplace for employees and contractors, mitigating exposures of different risks to the public and reducing our impact on the environment. This was evident by ONEOK’s significantly improved ESH performance, meeting or exceeding 2018 targets, which translated into fewer injuries, fewer vehicle incidents and improved environmental performance.


Total Recordable Incident Rate

ONEOK has put processes in place to help improve the safety and health of our employees. One area our commitment and efforts are displayed is in the more than 25 percent reduction of the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) from 0.78 in 2017 to 0.58 in 2018.

We continually evaluate these processes to identify certain focus areas and opportunities for improvement that will meet the high expectations set by our leadership and expected by our employees, customers, regulators and stakeholders.


* Total OSHA-recordable injuries and illnesses multiplied by 200,000 and divided by total employee work hours.

Preventable Vehicle Incident Severity Rating

ONEOK has reported its Preventable Vehicle Incident Rate (PVIR) in each Corporate Responsibility Report since 2009. This metric is a key indicator of employee driving performance, and helps us manage health and safety risks associated with driving.

A Preventable Vehicle Incident (PVI) is any incident involving a fleet or rental motor vehicle that results in an injury to any person or damage to any vehicle or property where the driver failed to reasonably avoid the incident.

The circumstances around each PVI are not the same and results may vary. To help our leadership team coach employees more effectively regarding PVIs, a severity category was added to the PVI metric.

Now, PVIs are placed into one of four categories with Tier I being the most severe and Tier IV being the least severe. The criteria establishes guidelines to categorize each PVI allowing leadership to focus attention on preventing PVIs that have a higher likelihood of resulting in an injury to people or damage to property.

  • Tier I – Fatality, hospitalization, major fire/release, property damage: >$50,000.
  • Tier II – Recordable injury, vehicle tow away, minor fire/release, property damage: $25,000 – $50,000
  • Tier III – First-aid injury, vehicle driven away, property damage: $3,000 – $25,000, occurs within 10 feet of process equipment.
  • Tier IV – No injury, minor damage (dent, scratch or ding), property damage: <$3,000, occurs greater than 10 feet from process equipment.

We believe the severity categories will increase the effectiveness of our initiatives aimed at improving our driving efforts.

View the Performance Data Table for more information on TRIR and PVIR, as well as other health and safety statistics.

14 Process Safety Management Elements

  • Employee participation
  • Process safety information
  • Process hazard analysis
  • Operating procedures
  • Training
  • Contractors
  • Pre-startup safety review
  • Mechanical integrity
  • Hot work permits
  • Management of change
  • Incident investigations
  • Emergency planning and response
  • Compliance audits
  • Trade secrets

Process and Facility Safety Management

In 2016, we implemented Safety and Health Capability Reviews, which brought a multidisciplinary team of employees together to assess and consolidate our safety and health management practices, including our standards and procedures around the 14 process safety management (PSM) elements as defined by the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA). In 2018, a committee was created as an extension of our review to drive ongoing analysis and improvement.

Employee responsibilities/expectations for each element are defined in the PSM Standards. Training is required for all applicable employees, and Operations Procedure training is conducted every three years.


ONEOK maintains a strong emergency planning preparedness and release response system, and utilizes an Incident Command System across our operations to prepare for and respond to potential incidents.

Each location/facility maintains an emergency response or emergency action plan
that addresses employee responsibilities, evacuation and event reporting procedures. Additionally, all PSM-regulated facilities maintain a risk-management plan, which outlines emergency response coordination with local agencies.

These plans are tested regularly with employees, local first responders and emergency management, and government officials. Our programs are reviewed annually to determine their effectiveness and to identify areas of improvement.



The Emergency Action Plan (EAP) Standard contains ONEOK’s minimum requirements for the development of Emergency Action Plans in accordance with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) and EPA risk-management program regulations.

The purpose of the plan is to provide information for employees and responders during an emergency. The plan contains information used during emergencies to protect employees, contractors, responders and assets while maximizing the safety of the public and environment.


We expect and require our contractors to maintain the same high ESH performance standards we ask of our employees.

Because we use third-party contractors to assist in the construction, operation and maintenance of our facilities and assets, contractor management is an important element of our ESH management system. As part of the management system, we have established contractor qualification, selection and retention criteria designed to attract the most qualified companies. Each company we contract with is responsible for providing personnel who are appropriately screened, trained, qualified and able to perform specified duties related to all of our applicable ESH policies and procedures. Once selected, contractors are monitored periodically for compliance with our ESH expectations.


Our large construction projects team continues to utilize our Safety Tracking for ONEOK Major Projects (STOMP) safety tool, which is designed to capture and monitor our contractors’ ESH performance. STOMP assists us and contract employees in the prevention of injuries, equipment damage, environmental impact and facility downtime. Our STOMP tool has raised awareness among our contractors of the benefits and requirements of reporting incidents, implementing corrective actions and identifying events early, which helps prevent and reduce incidents and their consequences.

For statistics, see our Performance Data Table.