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Guilty firms facing huge fines over blast

Three companies are facing potentially unlimited fines after being found guilty of health and safety breaches over the Buncefield oil depot explosion.

TAV Engineering Ltd, of Guildford, Surrey, was found guilty yesterday of failing to protect workers and the public, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

Motherwell Control Systems 2003 Ltd, which is in voluntary liquidation, was found guilty of the same charge on Wednesday at St Albans Crown Court.

Hertfordshire Oil Storage Limited (HOSL) was also found guilty of failing to prevent major accidents and limit their effects — a verdict that could be reported for the first time yesterday.

It also pleaded guilty to causing pollution to enter controlled waters underlying Buncefield, contrary to the Water Resources Act.

The verdicts follow a joint prosecution by the HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) which they called their “biggest and most complex criminal inquiry”.

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