A Nottinghamshire-based international engineering firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after failing to manage the risk to the public and employees of potentially lethal Legionella bacteria.
Chromalloy UK Limited of Eastwood in Nottingham and Somercotes in Derbyshire did not manage the risk of bacteria growing in their cooling towers for over a year from May 2011.
In May 2012, and HSE inspector visiting the company’s premises in Derbyshire felt spray on his face and saw that the yard’s surface was wet and nearby cooling towers were corroded, which can encourage the growth of Legionella bacteria.
Legionellosis is a water-borne infection, which can develop if infected water droplets are inhaled or ingested. The infection causes pneumonia-like symptoms and can be fatal.
The inspector visited the rest of the Somercotes factory and the company’s site in Nottingham – and found significant failings in the company’s control, recording and management of Legionella risks.
HSE issued four Improvement Notices in June 2012, requiring inlet screens to be placed on the cooling towers, to prevent debris falling into them which could encourage Legionella growth. The notice also required corroded items of plant to be replaced. The company had received two similar notices in 2008, requiring improvements to rusting towers and a number of management failures. All the notices had been complied with.
However, the court was told a laboratory analysis of a water sample taken from the Somercotes site before the HSE investigation had found Legionella bacteria levels to be so high that immediate action was required to clean the system. As well as failing to maintain its infrastructure, Chromalloy did not keep biocides to kill bacteria at effective levels.
At Derby Crown Court, Chromalloy UK Limited of Linkmel Road, Eastwood, in Nottingham admitted breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The company was fined a total of £110,000 – £55,000 for each breach – with £77,252 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Stuart Parry, said:
“The company’s water treatment programme and associated management arrangements were found to be severely ineffective.
“Chromalloy UK Limited was grossly complacent in its attempts to manage the risks arising from Legionella bacteria in its cooling towers at two separate locations.
“HSE intervened in 2008, but the company did not sustain any improvements made.
“Employers must understand the health risks associated with Legionella –
and take the necessary precautions to control or reduce risks arising from evaporative cooling systems.”
Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors – No win no fee Legionella Claims
Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors have advise on how to make a no win no fee claim for Legionella infections which result from negligence, including: Legionellosis contracted in:
• Beauty salons
• Care homes
• Holiday accommodation
• Public places
• Retails outlets
• Schools and colleges
• Sports centres
• Swimming baths
• Warehouses and factories.
Legionella claims have to be made within three years of diagnosis of infection – and children can make personal injury claims for Legionella infection up to the age of 21.
For expert legal advice on no win no fee Legionella Claims, call Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors on 020 7923 4020.