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The Complex is subject to a wide range of health, safety and environmental legislation. The safety legislation covers both "conventional" safety (slips, trips and falls etc.) and "process safety" with the HSE being the enforcing authority for all health and safety legislation at the Complex.

"Process safety" legislation, such as the COMAH Regulations, is aimed specifically at those industries identified as having a major accident potential which could result in significant on-site and off-site effects to employees, members of the public and the wider environment.

In terms of environmental legislation BP Grangemouth is subject to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and various Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) Regulations made under this Act. SEPA is the enforcing authority for environmental legislation at the Complex.

The three incidents were investigated by the Competent Authority under duties contained within the following legislation:

For further information on the enforcement strategy for the Complex see Appendix 2.

The HSE considered whether the power distribution failure and the MP steam main rupture should also be considered as a major accident under COMAH. However it was recognised that other regulations were more appropriate to these incidents and were the mainstay of those investigations.

Another major role of the HSE is to enforce relevant health and safety statutory provisions and consider whether  evidence exists of possible  contraventions of those statutory provisions. The powers of the HSE derive from HSWA Section 20 and the criminal offences are derived from Sections 33, 36 and 37.

The HSC Enforcement Policy statement forms the basis for the enforcement decisions of the HSE. SEPA has a similar policy. (See Appendix 2 for more detail). In Scotland crime is prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal as public prosecutor. Shortly after the series of incidents the Procurator Fiscal visited the Complex.

The HSE and SEPA are amongst a number of bodies who report alleged offences to the Procurator Fiscal. Health and safety law investigations involve examination of physical evidence, documentary evidence, direct witness statements and expert evidence of expert opinion. The legal test in criminal law is proof beyond reasonable doubt. In addition to prosecution, the HSE has powers to issue enforcement notices (Improvement or Prohibition) and the Competent Authority has a prohibition duty under COMAH Regulation 18 if serious deficiencies are evident involving the risk of a major accident. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.