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Full details of verdicts and pleas

Background

On Sunday 11 December 2005, a number of explosions occurred at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

At least one of the initial explosions was of massive proportions and there was a large fire. More than 40 people were injured.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA) have successfully prosecuted five companies. HSE and EA are the 'Competent Authority' responsible for regulating non-nuclear major hazardous industrial sites in England and Wales under the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999 (COMAH).

Defendants

Three companies stood trial:

Two companies pleaded guilty to charges over the incident:

Charges

Total UK Ltd, of 40 Clarendon Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to three charges on 13 November 2009:

Between the 1st day of January 2003 and the 12th day of December 2005 Total UK Ltd failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees, contrary to Section 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Between the 1st day of January 2003 and 12th day of December 2005, Total UK Ltd failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health or safety, contrary to Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Between the 10th day of December 2005 and the 31st day of December 2005, Total UK Ltd caused polluting matter, namely fuel and firewater chemicals to enter controlled waters, namely ground waters in the chalk aquifer underlying the vicinity of Buncefield, contrary to sections 85(1) and (6) of the Water Resources Act 1991.

British Pipeline Agency Ltd, of 5-7 Alexandra Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to two charges on 13 January 2009:

Between the 18th day of November 2001 and the 12th day of December 2005, British Pipeline Agency Ltd failed to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to persons and the environment, contrary to Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Between the 10th day of December 2005 and the 31st day of December 2005, British Pipeline Agency Ltd caused polluting matter, namely fuel and firewater chemicals to enter controlled waters, namely ground waters in the chalk aquifer underlying the vicinity of Buncefield, contrary to s.85(1) and (6) of the Water Resources Act 1991.

Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd, of 40 Clarendon Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, pleaded not guilty to two charges:

Found guilty - Between the 1st day of January 2003 and the 12th day of December 2005, Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd failed to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to persons and the environment, contrary to Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Pleaded guilty - Between the 10th day of December 2005 and the 31st day of December 2005, Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd caused polluting matter, namely fuel and firewater chemicals to enter controlled waters, namely ground waters in the chalk aquifer underlying the vicinity of Buncefield, contrary to s.85(1) and (6) of the Water Resources Act 1991.

TAV Engineering Ltd, of The Oriel, Sydenham Road, Guildford, Surrey, pleaded not guilty to one charge:

Found guilty - Between the 1st day of October 2003 and the 12th day of December 2005, TAV Engineering Limited failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health or safety, contrary to Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Motherwell Control Systems 2003 Ltd, c/o Rooney Associates 2nd Floor, 19 Castle Street, Liverpool, is facing one charge, a not guilty plea was entered by the judge on the company's behalf as it is in administration:

Found guilty - Between the 28th day of September 2003 and the 12th day of December 2005 Motherwell Control Systems 2003 Limited failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health or safety, contrary to Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Updated 2010-12-07