NI council in dock for legionella failings

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In September 2011, Carrickfergus Borough Council contracted an unqualified water management company as a contractor to assess the risks associated with its water systems at the Carrickfergus Amphitheatre. The contractor had no specific training in legionellosis, or health and safety.

The HSE carried out a routine visit to the site in November 2011 and found the risk assessment for the water system to be insufficient. The Executive issued an Improvement Notice, which ordered the council to carry out a proper risk assessment.

The council subsequently employed a qualified water management company, which found the risk of legionellosis was high. The council voluntarily closed the leisure centre until remedial work on the water system was completed. The issues highlighted in the most recent risk assessment included a build-up of slime and scale, which are known hazards associated with the proliferation of legionellosis bacteria.

The Council has pleaded guilty to breaching article 4 and article 5 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978. It was fined £1500 and ordered to pay £61 in costs. The contractor also pleaded guilty to same breaches of the 1978 Order, as well as a breach of reg.6 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (NI) 2003. He was fined £750, plus £61 in costs.

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