A manufacturer of Car parts has been fined £800,000 after 5 people contracted Legionnaires’ Disease.
The HSE had issued 14 enforcement notices since 2013, six of which related to the control of Legionella bacteria, specifically relating to damaged drift eliminators on two of the four cooling towers and deadlegs within the water system.
It is reported that the company advised the HSE that all the deadlegs had been removed, but in reality, upon inspection after the outbreak, the HSE inspectors found long-standing deadlegs as well as new ones that had been created within the water system. Deadlegs are areas in the system which allow water to stagnate and for legionella bacteria to proliferate.
In addition the levels of biocide within the system were too low. The dosing system maintenance company had apparently reported its concerns about the low levels to the organsation, but no action was taken.
Two agency workers, two employees and a local resident contracted the Legionnaires’ disease in May 2015. The bacteria strain was traced back to the plant water system.
Following the outbreak, emergency disinfections were undertaken and all four cooling towers decommissioned and replaced temporarily with a closed-loop system. The Car Parts company pleaded guilty to breaching ss 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, was fined £800,000 and must pay costs of £75,160.