A final report into the Hatfield rail crash has this week strongly attacked Balfour Beatty for failing to manage track inspection and maintenance.

The Office of Rail Regulation criticised the contractor for its involvement in the October 2000 crash, in which four people were killed. Balfour Beatty was originally fined £10m for its part in the crash, which was reduced earlier this month to £7.5m. It was cleared of corporate manslaughter charges last year.

The report, published on Monday, said the fracturing of rail track maintained by Balfour Beatty was the underlying cause of the crash.

The report said: “The rail failure was due to the presence of multiple and pre-existing cracks in the rail. The underlying causes identified by the HSE investigation were that the maintenance contractor at the time, Balfour Beatty Rail Maintenance Ltd, failed to manage effectively the inspection and maintenance of the rail at the site.”

The report also called for Network Rail, which was fined £3.5m, to continue to develop its safety procedures.

The report also called on the industry to develop a culture that paid more attention to risk assessment in decision making – especially when, as in the Hatfield maintenance case, a decision is made not to take action.