Moving large numbers of people, products and equipment by road, rail, sea, and air poses safety risks. We develop best-practice standards within Shell and work with others, such as specialist contractors, industry bodies, non-governmental organisations, and governments, to reduce transport safety risks.

Find out more about our road safety performance in 2021 in our Annual Report and our Sustainability Report.

Road safety

LPG truck on the road

Transportation is intrinsic to our business activities. While on business, Shell employees and contractors drive a combined distance of around 470 million kilometres (292 million miles) each year in more than 50 countries, including in remote locations.

Our road safety approach focuses on driver skills and behaviour, as well as the condition of the vehicle, road and local environment. It is supported by our global road safety standards and includes routine audits of the road safety capabilities of our contractors as well as our mandatory defensive driving training course. In 2021, around 11,000 Shell employees and contractors completed some form of in-vehicle or virtual defensive driving training.

Our employees and drivers are required to follow Shell’s Life-Saving Rules. These include following a prescribed route for road journeys, wearing a seat belt, not using mobile phones or any other devices while driving and adhering to speed limits.

Adressing Driver Fatigue

Falling asleep behind the wheel or being distracted while driving are amongst the leading causes of road accidents worldwide. Our road transport fleets have begun deploying devices that detect signs of microsleeps, fatigue and distraction, and respond by warning drivers so they can take action to stay alert.

This deployment started in 2020, at the Shell-operated QGC facility in Queensland, Australia, where we worked with four universities and eight contracting companies to evaluate fatigue detection devices and to find the one that performed best in testing. The basis for this project was a scientific study commissioned by Shell and other operators to review more than 100 commercially available technological systems that purported to detect fatigue or distraction in drivers.

We are adopting a phased approach to deploying the devices and ensuring drivers know how to use them. We will start in countries identified as high-risk locations: Australia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and the Philippines.

We want Shell drivers to be safe at all times, but we also try to reduce the need to use road transport in the first place: the safest journey is the one not taken. A number of our large projects have successfully reduced the amount of road travel needed by providing accommodation for personnel on site or by using buses to transport workers, and marine vessels and trains to transport equipment.

As a member of the Global Road Safety Partnership, we share our road safety experience and knowledge proactively with other companies, governments, non-governmental organisations and local communities. In 2021, the UN General Assembly's status report on road safety globally recognised Shell as being among the very few private sector companies that have funded road safety projects and activities. We believe that collaboration is key to achieving the UN’s target to halve global traffic deaths by 2030. 

Find out more:

Discover engagement materials for contractors on our approach to road safety

Maritime safety

Shell employee walking along on a tanker Shell Chemical Magazine Autumn/Winter 2009 global marine logistics Operation

Shell is one of the world’s largest charterer of ships, with over 1,500 vessels associated with the business that transit the world’s oceans and rivers each day. We have a company-wide ship quality assurance standard that is aimed at reducing safety incidents, accidents or oil spills from bulk transport ships.

In 2012 Shell created its Maritime Partners in Safety programme. This network of 500 maritime partners with whom Shell does business focuses on raising safety standards. Our partners include ship owners, supply boat operators, charterers and a range of others. Since its inception, this programme has led to better safety leadership and behaviour and has reduced the number of serious or potential incidents threefold.

We manage a global fleet of 26 tankers and liquefied natural gas carriers. Our biggest challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep our crews safe from infection. In 2020, we quickly opened relief facilities in ports where crew could quarantine and take a PCR test before embarking. These facilities remained opened throughout 2021. Of the more than 8,000 Shell seafarers who have worked on our vessels since the start of the pandemic, only three have tested positive.

Shell is amongst the 700 original signatory of The Neptune Declaration, an international agreement sponsored by the Global Maritime Forum, promising to support seafarers during the COVID-19 crew-change crisis, including by providing access to vaccines. Across the globe, Shell has facilitated the intervention of health professionals at relief facilities to vaccinated seafarers, in respect of local regulations and without preferential accesses to locally available doses.

We have also supported our seafarers with flights home with Shell aircraft during the crew-change crisis caused by international travel restrictions. 

Find out more:

Aviation safety

Airplanes at Airport terminals

With over 100 years of innovation, Shell aviation is present in approximately 60 countries and provides fuel for almost two million aircraft each year. Shell Aviation’s customers range from the private pilot to the largest global airlines. Achieving and maintaining class-leading health, safety, security, environmental (HSSE) and product quality performance is our main priority. 

Shell Aircraft, a separate organisation from Shell Aviation, focuses directly on the safety of the passengers who fly on business for Shell. We operate and charter planes, helicopters, and drones for tasks such as monitoring pipelines, conducting geophysical surveys and transporting passengers and equipment. Shell Aircraft develops specific contractor safety requirements and works directly with aviation regulators and industry groups to support aviation safety improvements across the oil and gas business.

In 2021, our owned and contracted aircraft flew more than 40,000 hours and safely delivered around 400,000 Shell employees and contractors. On top of rotating critical workers, such as our shipping crews, Shell’s own aircraft were used to fill gaps in commercial services globally, including evacuating families from high-risk countries and transporting cargo.

Find out more about our Aviation business.

More in Sustainability

Driver safety

We enforce road safety standards no matter where we operate and run road safety programmes globally to keep our drivers – employees and contractors – safe.

Community road safety

Shell is running road safety programmes for adults and schoolchildren in many local communities.

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