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People’s health and safety

Personal health and safety challenges

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Total places safety at the heart of its ambition to be a responsible company. The operational measures and indicators used to manage the Group’s activities are based on this fundamental value, in accordance with the strictest standards and with regard to health.

Given their specific nature, the Group’s activities involve health and safety risks for the Group’s employees, the personnel of the Group’s contractors, and residents in the vicinity of industrial sites. Furthermore, certain products marketed by Total may present risks for the health and safety of consumers.

In this context, the Group has therefore identified its main personal health and safety challenges:
  • preventing the occurrence of any major industrial accidents;
  • preventing occupational accidents;
  • preventing occupational health risks;
  • minimizing risks for the health and safety of consumers.

To address its challenges, Total relies on the HSE division, which forms part of the People & Social Responsibility division, whose President is a member of the Executive Committee.


Safety/Healthy infog


In line with the various businesses and environments in which the Group operates, the HSE division coordinates the promotion and implementation of Group policies to enable the HSE departments of the Group’s subsidiaries to prevent or mitigate risks. Indicators are monitored so that the Group’s actions in relation to personal health and safety can be continuously adapted.

Total conducts its operations on the basis of its Safety Health Environment Quality Charter. It forms the common foundation for the Group’s management frameworks, and sets out the basic principles applicable to safety, security, health, the environment, quality and societal commitment. This Charter is implemented at several levels (head office and subsidiaries). Group directives and rules define the minimum requirements expected. General specifications, guides and manuals are used to implement these directives and rules. The Group’s subsidiaries implement these requirements by means of their own management systems, which take account of specific local circumstances and local regulatory requirements. The Group’s framework is available to all employees.

Since 2018, an HSE reference framework common to all the business segments has progressively been rolled out in order to give greater overall consistency to the Group’s operations, while continuing to respect the specific characteristics of the various business segments. This reference framework, named One MAESTRO (Management and Expectations Standards Toward Robust Operations), applies to all the Group’s operated sites as defined in the “Reporting Scopes and Method” section (scope of One MAESTRO).

In order to evaluate the implementation of this framework, the Group performs audits at operated sites at least every five years. The sites themselves undertake self-assessments every two years. The Group’s HSE audit protocol is based on the One MAESTRO framework and includes the requirements of the international standards ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018. The audit protocol is applied fully during self-assessments and according to a risk-based approach during audits.

Before any final investment, acquisition or divestment decision, the projects presented to the Group’s Risk Committee are assessed in regard to health and safety risks for people.

Finally, the One MAESTRO framework provides that companies holding an interest in assets or activities that they do not themselves operate shall promote the Group HSE requirements and best practices and to endeavor to ensure that similar requirements are adopted by the operator. This process can be exercised during board meetings, technical assistance missions or through HSE audits or reviews, when these are provided for by a shareholders’ agreement. In 2019, the Group defined a new rule included in the One MAESTRO framework which aims at strengthening and harmonizing the Group-level assessments and follow-up of HSE risks relating to assets operated by third-parties.

Preventing the occurrence of major industrial accidents

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To prevent the occurrence of a major industrial accident such as an explosion, fire, leakage of hazardous products or mass leakage that might cause death, physical injury, large-scale pollution or pollution at an environmentally sensitive site, or damage to property, Total implements suitable risk management policies and measures which apply to all the Group’s operated activities that are exposed to such risks.

At the end of 2019, in addition to its drilling and pipeline transport operations, the Group had 180 sites and operating zones exposed to such risks. These correspond to all the activities relating to operation, whether offshore or onshore, the exploration and production of hydrocarbons as well as the Seveso-classified industrial sites (upper and lower tier) and their equivalents outside of the European Union. This number of sites is down compared to the end of 2018 when 195 sites were listed. The number of these sites is stable for the Exploration & Production and Integrated Gas Renewables & Power segments but decreasing for Refining-Chemicals (closure of a site in Spain and divestment of two sites in China) and for Marketing & Services (acquisition of a site in Brazil and divestment of sites in Argentina, Belgium, Germany and Tanzania).

The Group implements a policy for the management of major industrial accident risks in order to minimize the potential impacts associated with its activities. This policy provides for an analysis of the risks related to the Group’s industrial operations at each operated site, based on incident scenarios for which the probability of occurrence and the severity of the consequences are assessed. Based on these parameters, a prioritization matrix is used to determine whether further measures are needed. These mainly include preventive measures but can also include mitigation measures and may be technical or organizational in nature. These analyses are updated periodically, at least every five years, or when facilities are modified. Numerous studies are carried out or revised every year. For example, 29 studies were carried out between 2018 and 2019 concerning sites in the Marketing & Services segment which, at the end of 2019, had 97 SEVESO sites or equivalent.

The accidental risk management systems are in place from the early stage of design and construction of facilities or any modifications to these, as well as during the conduct of activities. They also cover the maintenance of the facility integrities over time as well as the effective and appropriate management of accidents if such events do, nevertheless, occur.

With regard to the design and construction of facilities, the Group has defined technical standards which include applicable statutory requirements and refer to good industrial practices. The construction of the Group’s facilities is entrusted to qualified contractors which undergo a demanding internal selection process and which are monitored. In the event of a modification to a facility, the Group’s rules define the management process to be adopted.

Furthermore, the Group extended its training program on managing risks of major accidents by proposing, in 2019, on-site training to the operating teams in addition to the training provided at head office. For example, with regard to the Marketing & Services segment, the course on Understanding of Major Risks and Integrity was attended by more than 500 participants at 44 subsidiaries between mid-2018 and the end of 2019.

With regard to the management of operations and integrity of facilities, the Group has defined rules to prevent specific operating risks that have been identified either by means of risk analyses or by feedback from the Group and industry. For specific works, the preliminary risk analysis may lead to the establishment of a permit to work, the process of which, from preparation through to closure, is defined. The Group’s rules also provide a process to manage the integrity of facilities, which includes, for example, preventive maintenance, facility inspections, identification of safety critical equipment for special monitoring, management of anomalies and downgraded situations, and regular audits. These rules are part of the Group’s One MAESTRO reference framework. The operating teams receive regular training in the management of operations in the form of companionship or in-person trainings.

The Group asks subsidiaries operating sites with the potential for a major industrial accident to identify an integrity function to manage this transverse process. Support to subsidiaries is provided by the Major Risks unit of the Group HSE division.

In terms of monitoring indicators, the Group reports the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 loss of containment as defined by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP). The Group sets itself the aim of having fewer than 100 Tier 1 and Tier 2 events in 2019.

This target was largely met in 2019. In addition to the 73 Tier 1 and Tier 2 operational events indicated in the table below, the Group recorded 2 Tier 2 events due to sabotage or theft in 2019.

Loss of primary containment(a) 2019 2018 2017(b)
Loss of primary containment (Tier 1) 26 30 28
Loss of primary containment (Tier 2) 47 73 75
Loss of primary containment (Tier 1 and Tier 2) 73 103 103

(a) Tier 1 and Tier 2: indicator of the number of losses of primary containment with more or less significant consequences (fires, explosions, injuries, etc.), as defined by the API 754 (for downstream) and IOGP 456 (for upstream) standards. Excluding acts of sabotage and theft.
(b) Excluding TEP Barnett in 2017.


Despite these measures, two major industrial accidents occurred in 2019, both in France: one at the Île-de-France Pipeline (PLIF) and the other at the Normandy Refinery. In February 2019, a leakage of 900 m3 of hydrocarbons occurred on the PLIF, at Autouillet in the Yvelines department of France. This spill resulted in soil pollution over approximately 4 hectares as well as in pollution of water courses. The remediation operations undertaken are described in the « Environment » section. In December 2019, a major fire occurred in the distillation unit in the Normandy refinery (France). The fire was brought under control using the refinery’s own internal resources. It caused important damage but no injuries. These two events gave rise to an analysis in order to draw feedbacks. The other Tier 1 and 2 events had more minor consequences (injuries with lost time, small-scale fire or pollution or with no impact).

In order to manage any major industrial accidental efficiently, the Group has implemented a global crisis management system that is based primarily on an on-call system available around the clock, seven days a week, as well as on a dedicated crisis management center at head office that makes it possible to manage two simultaneous crises. The framework provides that subsidiaries draw up plans and procedures for interventions in the event of leaks, fires or explosions and to test these at regular intervals. The intervention teams at the subsidiaries and at the head office practice their crisis management activities regularly on the basis of scenarios identified by the risk analyses. These personnel may follow dedicated training depending on their specific functions. In 2019, 349 individuals followed the “Crisis management” training in the subsidiaries and at head office.

In addition, the Group started to roll out the Incident Management System (IMS) in the Exploration & Production subsidiaries in 2019. The IMS is a harmonized system for the management of emergency situations. It is described in an IPIECA good practices guide and is being progressively adopted by the majors. In 2019, seven Exploration & Production subsidiaries received training and performed a large-scale exercise in the application of the system. A total of 314 employees have been trained at the subsidiaries and at the head office.

Preventing occupational accidents

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Healthy, safty

The Group’s One MAESTRO framework covers three main areas with regard to personal safety: the prevention of occupational accidents, the prevention of transport accidents, and the prevention of major industrial accidents. It relates to all employees of Group subsidiaries, employees of contractors working on a site operated by one of these subsidiaries, as well as employees of transport companies under long-term contracts. The safety results are monitored with the same attention for all.

Indicators measure the main results. In addition to its aim of zero fatalities in the exercise of its activities, the Group has set itself the target of continuously reducing the TRIR(1) and, for 2019, of keeping it below 0.85 for all personnel of the Group and its contractors.

(1) TRIR: Total Recordable Injury Rate


The efforts with regard to safety made by the Group over a period of more than 10 years have made it possible to reduce the number of occupational accidents by four between 2009 and 2019. Following a stabilization in performances in 2016 and 2017, the Group saw a 11% reduction in the number of accidents in the year 2019 compared to the results for the previous year. This improvement is due to the Group’s constant efforts in the field of safety and, in particular, to:

  • the implementation of the HSE frameworks, which are regularly updated and audited;
  • the prevention of specific risks that are particularly liable to lead to accidents, such as handling loads (ergonomics), road transport, foot traffic;
  • training and general familiarization with safety issues for all levels of management (world safety day, special training for managers);
  • the HSE communication work, towards all Group’s personnel;
  • the introduction of safety objectives into the compensation policy for Group employees (see the « employment and social inclusion » section).

 The SIR(2) raise between 2018 and 2019 is explained by an increase in accidents with a number of days off, (more than 30 days) especially in the M&S segment and a decrease in the number of accidents with a number of days off (less than 10 days) especially in the iGRP segment.

Despite these measures, fatalities occurred in 2019 among the personnel of contractors during construction work or maintenance operations in Belgium, France, the United States and South Korea. All were related directly or indirectly to work performed at height: fall of a mobile platform while adjusting a pipe (Belgium), fall of a platform following the detachment of a guardrail (France), fall of a stepladder while dismantling an equipment (USA), fall of a roof being repaired (South Korea).

These fatalities, have led the Group to focus specifically on reaching a new milestone in the prevention of fatal accidents and on achieving “Zero fatal accidents” in the Group. As they are particularly affected, representatives of contractors took part in the corresponding discussions together with operational employees and Group’s safety experts. The Group will strengthen its efforts in three priority areas :

  • the incorporation in the permit to work process of a ritual to be performed prior to undertaking work at the Group’s operated sites (Safety Green Light);
  • the conduct of joint on-site safety inspections together with the contractors; and
  • the intensification of on-site checks in order to measure compliance with the safety rules.

One MAESTRO rule concerning working at height was also reinforced. The progressive implementation of these measures at the Group’s operated sites, accompanied by familiarization campaigns to draw attention to the most widespread risks of fatal injury, started in the final quarter of 2019 and will continue in 2020. Finally, on April 28, 2020, the Group will celebrate the World Day for Safety, on the topic of “Our lives matter: Safety Green Light”. 

In addition, following a fatal accident associated with the explosion of a tank in Egypt in October 2018, the Group rapidly decided to roll out a large-scale accident prevention program focusing on the presumed causes of the accident, in anticipation of the investigation conclusions. Following webinar awareness-raising sessions, special training on risks associated with work at oil tanks was deployed with the involvement of approximately 3,500 participants from 90 countries. This program ended in mid-2019 with the distribution of a feedback document for immediate and mandatory application throughout the Group.

More generally, the Group has, for many years, implemented a process for the analysis of accidents, irrespective of their nature, with the method used and the level of detail involved depending on the actual or potential level of severity of the event. By way of example, a near miss with a high severity potential is treated as a severe accident, and its analysis is considered an essential factor of progress. Depending on its relevance to the other Group entities, it triggers a safety alert and the distribution of feedback, depending on the circumstances.

In the field of occupational safety, the Group also introduced, in 2010, the document “Safety at Work: Total’s Twelve Golden Rules”. This has been widely circulated within the Group and brings together the fundamental rules which must be scrupulously observed by all personnel, whether employees or the staff of contractors, in all the countries and business segments in which the Group is active.

The aim of the Golden Rules is to set out simple, easy-to-remember rules that cover a large number of occupational accidents. In addition, further rules can be found in the One MAESTRO framework, the business segment frameworks and the subsidiaries’ frameworks.

According to the Group’s internal statistics, more than 32% of severe workplace incidents or high potential severity near misses are related to an unfollowed Golden Rule. The correct implementation of these rules, and more generally, of all occupational safety procedures, is verified through site visits and internal audits. The Stop Card system, which was set up in 2015, also enables any employee of the Group or a contractor to intervene if any of the Golden Rules are not being followed.

The Stop Card is a plastic-coated card, signed by the manager of the entity or site. It grants its holder the authority to intervene and stop work in progress, if he/she notices high-risk actions or situations, or situations that may lead to an accident, with a assurance that no disciplinary action will be taken as a result, even in the intervention turns out to have been unnecessary.

If an action or situation seems hazardous for one or more people, a facility or the environment, the Stop Card provides means of intervening. Uses of the Stop Card can range from a simple question to check that no risks are present, to interrupting the work in progress.

This interruption offers an opportunity to exchange with the colleagues involved (members of staff and their supervisor) with a view of finding a solution to the perceived problem. If necessary, changes are made to the way of working before resuming the work in progress.

If the problem cannot be solved immediately, the work is suspended, pending the implementation of suitable measures.

The reporting of anomalies and near misses (approximately 700,000 per year) is strongly encouraged and is permanently monitored. The involvement of each employee in identifying anomalies or dangerous situations is an indicator of the employees’ involvement and vigilance in accident prevention and reflects the safety culture within the Group.

In addition, in 2016, the HSE department created a unit bringing together specialists on high-risk operations (work at height, lifting, high-pressure cleaning, excavations, etc.) in order to consolidate in-house knowledge and relations with contractors. In the same year, the Group HSE Division also created a unit aimed at providing support for sites to improve their safety culture upon their request.

In the field of road transport, the Group adopted a policy intended to reduce the number of accidents by applying standards that are, in some cases, more stringent than certain local regulations. This policy applies to the Group’s personnel and contractors. For example, it comprises a ban on telephoning while driving, even with a hands-free set, a ban on using motorized two-wheeled vehicles for business travel, mandatory training for drivers, strict technical specifications for vehicles. Additional requirements are defined depending on the level of road traffic risks in the country and the nature of the activity. Thus, in countries with high road traffic risks, vehicles are equipped recorders of driving parameters and the conduct of drivers is monitored. Since 2012, a large-scale inspection program of transport contractors has also been rolled out by Marketing & Services. This calls on independent transport experts who inspect the practices and processes adopted by transport contractors with regard to the recruitment and training of drivers, vehicle inspections and maintenance, route management, and the HSE management system. Depending on the results of the inspection, transport contractor may be included in or excluded from the list of contractors approved by the Group. This program is gradually being extended to the Group’s other business segments as required. Furthermore, a training center exists since 2015 in Radès in Tunisia. It offers transport trainings to the personnel of Marketing & Services subsidiaries and to transport contractors that are interested.

To measure the results of its policy, the Group has, for many years, been monitoring the number of severe road accidents involving its employees and those of contractors. The 27% reduction in the number of serious injuries between 2016 and 2019 is a testimony to the efforts that have been made. In 2019, the number of serious road accidents increased compared to 2018. However, there was no transport-related fatality.

The projects launched in 2018 on the use of new technologies for the prevention of road accidents were continued in 2019. In Marketing & Services, a new action plan has been introduced covering the fields of drivers’ behaviour, vehicles and preparation for emergency situations. In particular, the decision was taken to fit more than 2,500 vehicles with fatigue detection systems following conclusive tests performed over a period of several months. In addition, the second part of the SafeDriver video campaign was launched in 2019 and will continue until 2021. The subjects chosen for 2019 were blind spots, driver tiredness and driving in difficult situations.

(2) SIR: Severity Injury Rate.


With regard to air transport, a carrier selection process exists to limit the risks relating to travel by Group and contractor’s employees, if their journey is organized by the Group. This process is based on data provided by recognized international bodies: the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), and civil aviation authorities recommendations. Airlines that do not have a rating from an international body are assessed by an independent body commissioned by the Group.

Preventive actions in the field of health, safety and the environment require all employees to adhere to the Group’s safety policies. To this end, the Group provides training intended for various groups (new arrivals, managers, senior executives and directors) in order to establish a broad-based, consistent body of knowledge that is shared by everyone:

  • Safety Pass: These safety induction courses were started on January 1st, 2018, for new arrivals within the Group. Various courses exist depending on the position and cover the Company’s main HSE risks, the risks linked to the site activities as well as those linked to the workplace. The theoretical content is supplemented by practical “life-saving” training sessions;
  • HSE for Managers is aimed at current or future operational or functional managers within one of the Group’s entities. Sessions are offered on all continents where Total operates. In 2019, seven sessions, including four held internationally, brought together more than 287 managers;
  • Safety Leadership for Executives is intended for the Group’s senior executives. Its objective is to give senior executives the tools allowing them to communicate and develop a safety culture within their organization. The updated version of this course was validated during pilot sessions held in 2019. Five sessions were attended by more than 85 senior executives in 2019. The target is for all senior executives to have taken the new module within three years.

In order to ensure and reinforce knowledge of the HSE framework documents, a tool designed to evaluate HSE-related knowledge and containing over 3,000 multiple-choice questions was developed in 2018 for use by the Group’s HSE managers of subsidiaries or operated sites. This tool makes it possible to assess their knowledge and decide on a suitable training plan, if necessary. In 2019, 125 HSE managers took part in this knowledge assessment which corresponds to about half of the targeted population. The goal is to have the entire population assessed within 3 years. 

In addition to the training measures, the HSE division is responsible for regular communicating and animation on HSE-related topics. Each month, central experts and specialists communicate a set of rules and good practices internal and external. In addition, 24 seminars, webinars or symposia involving the Group’s subsidiaries were led by the HSE division in 2019.

Finally, safety, as a core value of Total, is a component of the Group’s employee compensation policy since 2011 at all level of the Company (refer to the « employment and social inclusion » section).

With regard to security, the Group has put in place means to analyze threats and assess risks in order to take preventive measures to limit its exposure to security risks in the countries where it operates.

Preventing occupational health risks

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With regard to the prevention of occupational health risks, the Group One MAESTRO framework provides that subsidiaries of the Group identify and assess risks at the workplace in the short, medium and long terms and also provides guides for implementation. The analysis of these health risks relates to chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic and psychosocial risks. The framework results in the roll-out of an action plan. In addition, it requires that each Group entity sets out a formal medical monitoring procedure taking into account the requirements under local law (frequency, type of examination, etc.) and the level of exposure of its personnel to the various risks.

To complement this program, the Group has set up an employee health observation committee. The aim is to monitor the health of a sample of employees in order to identify the emergence of certain illnesses and, if applicable, suggest appropriate preventive measures. The data, which is gathered anonymously during medical examinations, covers approximately 10% of Group employees worldwide.

The Group also has a Medical Advisory Committee that meets regularly to discuss key health issues relating to the Group’s activities. It decides whether there is a need for additional health protection strategies to be implemented. It consists of external scientific experts and also brings together the Group’s senior executives and stakeholders concerned by these issues.

The Group has set itself the priority of preventing psychosocial risks (PSR). Therefore, it has launched a global voluntary program for the prevention of PSR that is intended to support all employees exposed to such risks, wherever they are in the world.

The global PSR prevention program is based on four areas of activity:

  • a minimum level of awareness and training for all through the distribution of a prevention kit, which has been translated into 11 languages and validated by international experts. This forms the starting point for all training activities;
  • a single system for measuring individual stress and a collective assessment of the psychosocial risk factors in the working environment. This facilitates the production of action plans;
  • a system for listening to and supporting all employees, irrespective of their geographical location. Supervised by international experts and available in more than 40 languages, it provides, as far as possible, care and support to employees in their mother tongue and in accordance with their specific cultural environment;
  • regular monitoring of the indicators for enhanced control of the system. The implemented mechanism guarantees anonymity, confidentiality and the security of personal data during the entire period of support.

All Group subsidiaries must ensure that they implement the Group’s PSR prevention program or an equivalent local program. 

A Quality of Life at Work and Health working group was set up in September 2018 to coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of all of the actions taken. Led by the Group Human Resources division, all of Total’s business segments are represented, including the international medical department. In particular, the working group has the task of identifying the PSR reference persons for each Group subsidiary. At December 31, 2019, 153 PSR reference persons had been identified. In their respective subsidiaries, they actively contribute to the implementation of the four priority areas of action.

On a broader level, Total is helping to promote individual and collective health programs in the countries where it operates, including vaccination campaigns and screening programs for certain diseases (AIDS, cancer, malaria, etc.) for employees, their families and local communities. Action is also taken regularly to raise awareness of lifestyle risks (anti-smoking and anti-drinking campaigns, etc.).

Every year, in order to share information on the Group’s progress in the area of Industrial Hygiene, the Group organizes a technical day of discussions on different subjects with the concerned business segments.

The Group has put in place the following indicators to monitor the performance of its program:

Health indicators (WHRS scope) 2019 2018 2017
Percentage of employees with specific occupational risks
benefiting from regular medical monitoring
98% 98%(a) 98%
Number of occupational illnesses recorded in the year
(in accordance with local regulations)
128 154 143

(a) As an exception to the reporting principles described in the “Reporting scopes and methodology” section, the 2018 rate does not include a company that did not report its data in time for the 2018 World Human Resources Survey. 


Musculoskeletal disorders, the main cause of occupational illnesses in the Group, represented 67% of all recorded illnesses in 2019, against 69% in 2018. The Group assesses ergonomic risks in accordance with a methodology defined above and trains personnel at its sites in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders.

Limiting risks for the health and safety of consumers

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Unless certain precautions are taken, some of the petroleum or chemical products marketed by Total pose potential consumer health and safety risks. The Group aims to respect the regulatory requirements in order to limit the risks throughout the life cycle of its products.

The Group has also defined the minimum requirements to be observed in order to market its petroleum or chemical products worldwide with the goal to reduce potential risks to consumer health and the environment. The identification and assessment of the risks inherent to these products and their utilizations form part of these requirements, as does the provision of information to consumers. The material safety data sheets that accompany the petroleum or chemical products marketed by the Group (available in at least one of the languages used in the country) as well as product labels are two key sources of information.

The implementation of these requirements is monitored by specialist units in Refining & Chemicals and Marketing & Services segments of the Group. The task of these units is to ensure the preparation of safety documentation for the marketed petroleum or chemical products so that they correspond to the applications for which they are intended and to the applicable regulations. They therefore draw up the material safety data sheets, compliance certificates (contact with food, toys, pharmaceutical packaging, etc.) and ensure REACH registration, if necessary. They also monitor scientific and regulatory developments and verify the rapid implementation of new sheets and updates within the Group entities.

Governance of the process is rounded off within the Group’s business units or subsidiaries of Refining & Chemicals and Marketing & Services segment through the designation of a product steward who ensures compliance during the market release of his or her entity’s petroleum or chemical products. The networks of product steward are coordinated by the Group’s specialist units either directly or via an intermediate regional level in the case of the Marketing & Services segment.

The safety data sheets for oil and gas produced by the Exploration & Production and of Integrated Gas, Renewables & Power subsidiaries are produced by the Marketing & Services expertise center. The conformity of the marketing process of these products is ensured by the subsidiary.

Finally, the Group has set up an intersegmental working group that works on the harmonization of practices and classifications for the petroleum or chemical products common to the different segments, as well as on the development of good practices.