May 23, 2006 | Mark Paradies

When is a Fine Too Big? Hatfield Rail Crash, BP Refinery Explosion, and Davis-Besse Reactor Vessel Head “Hole” Test Increased Fines

I’ve already reported about the BP Refinery Explosion Fine ($21 Million US), the fine for a follow up inspection at other BP facilities ($2.4 Million US) , and the fine for the Davis-Besse reactor vessel “hole” incident ($28 million US).

Now the UK Courts have imposed a £10m fine on the engineering firm Balfour Beatty over the cracked rail that caused the Hatfield rail crash.

 Media Images 40876000 Jpg 40876642 Hatfield Body

The engineering firm – although pleading guilty and providing a public apology – is appealing the fine because they think the fine is excessive. (For details see the BBC report.)

So what is an excessive fine?

Do fines really improve safety behavior by companies?

Or are large fines just another tax on the consumers of the services provided (gas, electricity, or rail service) and the shareholders of the companies because they will eventually be passed along by the companies or taken out of dividends or money for future growth (a penalty for future employees)?

Interesting … What do you think?

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