US oil giant Enron has pleaded guilty to violating health and safety laws over a 1996 explosion at its Teesside power station that left a worker with serious burns.
The company faces a maximum fine of £20,000 at Teesside Magistrates Court over the breach of section 2(i) of the Health & Safety at Work Act, which requires companies to exercise due care in respect of their employees.
It is possible that sentencing could be referred to a Crown Court which can impose unlimited fines but this is thought unlikely.
Enron will have to wait until 8 9 June for its sentence, when the magistrates will hear the case concerning the incident against the firm’s main contractor Westinghouse, which has pleaded not guilty to a charge under section 3(i) of the act.
This obliges companies to take appropriate care of non-employees who may be affected by their operations. Westinghouse provided the procedures and equipment for the operation that resulted in the explosion.
It had sub-contracted the implementation work to another US firm, Parsons.