HBE LegionellaFines and costs totalling nearly £250,000 have been imposed on a manufacturing firm and its water treatment contractor after workers and members of the public were put at risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria.

The HSE prosecuted a multinational automotive parts manufacturer and its water treatment services provider from Staffordshire after an investigation in 2006.

The Crown Court heard HSE inspectors found the manufacturer had failed to properly manage the water cooling systems used in manufacturing processes at its plant.

The water treatment provider which had been contracted to provide water treatment services was also found to have failed significantly in its duties.

There was no comprehensive and up-to-date risk assessment in place and neither company had taken reasonable steps to control the potential spread of Legionella by assessing the risk or properly cleaning and maintaining the water cooling system. Employees had not been properly supervised. The management failings by both companies were present over a prolonged period of time.

The Manufacturer pleaded guilty and was fined £80,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Section 3(1) of the Act and ordered to pay £45,000 costs.

The Water Treatment company was found guilty at a trial in May 2011 and was fined £40,000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and ordered to pay £80,000 costs.