Buncefield latest – another guilty verdict

A jury at St Albans' Crown Court today found TAV Engineering Ltd guilty of failing to protect workers and members of the public following an investigation into the explosion and fire at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot on 11 December 2005.

Motherwell Control Systems 2003 Ltd were found guilty earlier this week of the same charge.

Earlier this week Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited were found guilty of failing to prevent major accidents and limit their effects.

Today they also pleaded guilty to causing pollution to enter controlled waters underlying the vicinity around Buncefield.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency are the ‘Competent Authority’ responsible for regulating non-nuclear major hazardous industrial sites in the UK under the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH).

As the competent authority, the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency have a responsibility to investigate major incidents and ensure that lessons are learned.

A joint statement from the organsiations said: “This was the biggest and most complex criminal inquiry we have worked on together – the product of many hundreds of hours of painstaking forensic investigation.

“When companies put workers and members of the public at risk and cause environmental damage we will prosecute.

“When the largest fire in peacetime Europe tore through the Buncefield site on that Sunday morning in December 2005, these companies had failed to protect workers, members of the public and the environment.

“The scale of the explosion and fire at Buncefield was immense and it was miraculous that nobody died. Unless the high hazard industries truly learn the lessons, then we may not be that fortunate in future.”

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