The British multinational corporation, under international condemnation for its polluting gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, has been accused of a series of maintenance and operating lapses which put workers and the environment at risk from major leaks, fires and accidents in the North Sea and elsewhere.
As a result BP companies have been served with 21 legal enforcement notices since 2006 by HSE, requiring lax and dangerous practices to be improved. The company, however, has not been prosecuted by the watchdog since 2005.
The revelations have been greeted with horror by experts and environmentalists, appalled at BP’s track record in the UK. The company’s failings here are directly linked to the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April, they say.
An analysis of the HSE enforcement database by the Sunday Herald shows that four BP companies - BP Exploration, BP Oil UK, BP Chemicals and BP Shipping - have been hit with legal notices in the last five years. Altogether, there have been 54 breaches of eight health and safety laws or regulations (see table below).