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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Largest UK safety breach pay-outs
BP's Grangemouth plant
There were two breaches in three days at BP's Grangemouth plant
Engineering firm Balfour Beatty and Network Rail have been fined a total of 13.5m for health and safety breaches in the run-up to the Hatfield rail crash, which killed four people in 2000.

It is the second-largest pay-out imposed by UK courts for health and safety breaches.

BBC News Website looks back at the penalties imposed in six high-profile cases.

LARKHALL GAS BLAST, 22 DECEMBER 1999

Janette and Drew Findlay
Janette and Drew Findlay and their two children died

A family of four died when a leaking gas pipe exploded, destroying their house in Larkhall, south Lanarkshire, a few days before Christmas in 1999.

The blast was powerful enough to project a fridge onto the roof of a neighbour's home, leaving behind a scene likened by witnesses to "a war zone".

After a 27-week trial, utility firm Transco was found guilty under health and safety legislation of failing to maintain the corroded and leaking iron gas main which ran through the family's garden.

It was fined a record 15m in August 2005, setting a UK record for a health and safety prosecution.

LADBROKE GROVE TRAIN CRASH, 5 OCTOBER 1999

Paddington crash at Ladbroke Grove
The crash at Ladbroke Grove, near Paddington, killed 31 people
Thirty-one people were killed when a Thames Trains commuter service smashed into a First Great Western train after going through a red light at Ladbroke Grove in west London.

Thames Trains was fined what was then a record 2m at a hearing in April 2004 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches.

The court ruled the company had failed to properly train driver Michael Hodder, who had not been warned about problems with an "infamous" signal in the Paddington area.

Mr Hodder, a 31-year-old father-of-two, was among those killed in the crash.

PORT RAMSGATE GANGWAY COLLAPSE, 14 SEPTEMBER 1994

Six people died and seven were seriously injured when a steel pin holding a passenger walkway came loose as hundreds of people were boarding the Prins Filip ferry from Ramsgate to Ostend.

As the gangway collapsed, more than a dozen people were sent plunging onto a steel platform 30ft below.

Four firms were taken to court over the collapse - they were fined a total of 1.7m in 1997.

Two Swedish firms, FEAB and FKAB were found guilty of "gross errors" and fined a total of 1m between them - they had denied failing to ensure the safety of passengers.

Port Ramsgate had to pay 200,000 after a judge ruled it must share responsibility for the tragedy.

Lloyd's Register of Shipping, which certified the walkway as sage, was fined 500,000 after admitting one health and safety charge - the first criminal conviction in its 237-year history.

SOUTHALL RAIL CRASH, 19 SEPTEMBER 1997

Southall rail crash
The Southall crash was caused by an express train running a red light
Seven people were killed and 147 injured when a speeding Great Western Trains express service from Swansea ran a red light at 125mph and went crashing into an empty freight train at Southall, west London.

An inquiry heard an in-cab automatic warning system had not been working properly and another safety system, Automatic Train Protection (ATP), was not switched on.

The train's driver was acquitted of seven counts of manslaughter. Great Western Trains was fined 1.5m under the Health and Safety at Work Act in July 1999.

Manslaughter charges against the firm were dropped.

HEATHROW TUNNEL COLLAPSE, 21 OCTOBER 1994

Hundreds of lives were put at risk when tunnels collapsed during the construction of the Heathrow Express Rail Link.

Described in court as one of the UK's worst civil engineering disasters of the past 25 years, it caused a huge crater to appear between the airport's two main runways as well as damage to car parks and buildings.

No one was injured but the clean-up operation lasted months and caused massive disruption.

Judge Peter Cresswell said it was "luck more than judgment" that the collapse did not crush to death passengers using the nearby Piccadilly Line on the Tube.

Balfour Beatty, which was building the tunnel, admitted failing to ensure the safety of its employees and the public and was fined 1.2m in February 1999.

Australian engineering firm Geoconsult, which was responsible for monitoring the project, was fined 500,000.

BP GRANGEMOUTH REFINERY STEAM RUPTURE AND FIRE, JUNE 2000

Two serious health and safety breaches put lives at risk within a week of each other at BP's Grangemouth Refinery in central Scotland.

On 7 June, more than three times the normal amount of pressure in a steam pipe caused it to explode.

The blast broke the ribs of a woman walking her dog nearby, caused the ground to vibrate and created what was described in court as a "wall of steam".

Three days later, a major fire broke out after a break in the refinery pipe work allowed highly flammable vapour to escape.

Workers at the plant were forced to run for their lives.

BP Grangemouth Refinery was fined 750,000 for the fire and BP Chemicals Ltd 250,000 for the pipe explosion at a hearing in January 2002.




SEE ALSO:
Transco fined 15m for gas blast
25 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Paddington crash firm fined 2m
05 Apr 04 |  London
BP fined 1m for safety offences
18 Jan 02 |  Scotland
Record fine after tunnel collapse
15 Feb 99 |  Business


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