July 2, 2008, The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has
renewed its warning to companies to ensure that water storage and cooling
systems are adequately treated to prevent the growth of the legionella
bacteria – which affects around 300 people in the UK each year.
comes after HP Bulmer Limited and Nalco Limited, who had previously
pleaded guilty to contraventions of the Health and Safety at Work etc act
1974, following an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Hereford that
occurred in 2003, were fined at Hereford Crown Court on 1st July, 2008.
At inquests the Coroners’ court had directly related the deaths of two
people to the outbreak and the Health Protection Agency had originally
attributed 28 cases of legionnaire’s disease, although this figure was
later revised to 26.
HP Bulmer Limited (of Ashby House, 1 Bridge Street, Staines, Middlesex)
was fined £300,000 with costs of £50,000 after pleading guilty to a breach
of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Nalco Ltd, of Winnington Avenue, Northwick, Cheshire, was
simultaneously also fined £300,000 with costs of £50,000 after also
pleading guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at
Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the case, HSE investigating inspector Tony Woodward
“There was a failure to institute and maintain an
effective cleansing treatment and disinfectant regime for two seasonably
used cooling towers, at Bulmer’s site in the Cider Mills, Plough Lane,
Hereford. Inadequate management, by neglecting such an obvious duty of
care, that can result in the health and lives of the public or employees
being endangered, cannot go unpunished. The fines will also help to deter
any repetition although this does not help the members of the public who
were adversely affected and to whom our sympathies are extended. The fact
that building users engage a specialist contractor does not mean that they
have complied with the law; they must work with the contractor and ensure
they are receiving the service required. Equally specialist contractors
and sub-contractors must provide their clients with the expertise which
they have been engaged for.”
Source: UK Health and Safety Executive, Published July 2, 2008
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