LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE IN THE NEWS

31st October 2019

TWO PEOPLE SENTENCED AFTER FAILING TO CONTROL LEGIONELLA BACTERIA

Birmingham Magistrates Court heard that between June 2017 and September 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers failed to put suitable measures in place to control the risk of Legionella bacteria from the cooling tower on their premises.

They both pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were each sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £12,115 each, including a victim surcharge of £115.

You can read more from the HSE here.

2nd September 2019 

PUBLIC WARNED AS LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE CLUSTER IN BARRY

Residents in Barry have been warned to take precautions after a ‘cluster’ of Legionnaires’ disease was declared in the area.

Eleven cases of the disease have emerged in the Vale of Glamorgan over the last 12 months.

Public Health Wales say there’s no evidence the cases are linked.The situation has been labeled a ‘cluster’ as it does not yet qualify as a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

You can read more here.

22nd August 2019

TWO BRITISH HOLIDAYMAKERS DIE OF LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE AFTER STAYING AT BULGARIAN RESORT.

Both holiday makers returned from their holiday at a bulgarian resort with the classic flu like symptoms.  They were both admitted to hospital where they died from Legionnaires’ Disease.  They had both stayed at Hotel Kalofer in Bulgaria which is a resort promoted by Tour Operator Jet2.

A third man has now returned home also with symptomsand is being treated in hospital.  Investigations are now ongoing and Jet 2 have said “We have transferred all customers and all bookings for this summer to other hotels, and we have also put a stop on sales to the affected hotel for Summer 19 and Summer 20.”

You can read more here.

6th July 2019

BOURNEMOUTH HEALTH SPA PROBED AFTER LEGIONELLA OUTBREAK

Fourteen people have either contracted Legionnaires Disease or Pontiac fever following their visit to a health Spa in Bournemouth between 1st & 18th June 2019. Their symptoms were said to include headaches, sickness and chest tightness.  Public Health England are investigating, however they have thankfully confirmed that of all the cases reported to them the patients are all recovering at home.  You can read more here.

29th March 2019

MAN, 54, DIED AFTER CONTRACTING LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE AT NEW FOREST CARE HOME

An inquest has been held into the death of after a care home resident died nearly two weeks after he fell ill and was admitted to Salisbury District Hospital . He was diagnosed with legionella pneumonia, a complication arising from the legionella bacteria. The home was run by Sentinel Healthcare who today admitted the male contracted legionnaires disease from their water systems. Following the inquest a report is to be submitted the coroner to the Care Quality Commission to raise his concerns that more needs to be done for the training of inspectors in water safety to prevent future deaths from legionnaires’ disease in the care setting. You can read more here.

28th February 2019

SADNESS OVER WOMENS DEATH AT LUDLOW HOSPITAL

A hotel guest at The Feathers Hotel, in Ludlow, Shropshire died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease and another fell ill following a stay at the same place. Tests showed links between legionella bacteria found in water samples from the sink of the room the deceased stayed in, Public Health England said.

The inquest had heard that, before the her stay, the hotel had twice called in a firm to improve and reduce the risk of bacterial outbreak. The death came months after another guest caught the disease.The hotel subsequently closed but is due to reopen under new management following a refit. You can read more here.

6th November 2018

FOUR SEASONS FINED £600,00 OVER LEGIONNAIRES’ DEATH

Due to contracting Legionnaires Disease, a 90 year old resident died at a care home on 15th November 2012. The resident had contracted the disease through breathing in bacteria carried in water. The home  accepted that there was repeated failures to manage the implementation of procedures to safeguard people in the home, for which we sincerely apologised. They were fined £600,000 for the safety breaches and the home closed its doors in September 2016.  You can read more here.

24th August 2018

HOTEL CLOSED AFTER LEGIONELLA BACTERIA FOUND IN THE WATER

Following consultation with health experts, Wolverhampton City Council were advised to close the Ramada Hotel and Spa.  There were concerns related to the hotels water management systems and the discovery of legionella in water samples taken.  The hotel was closed to overnight guests as the Council served notice to formally prohibit the use of the hot and cold water system.  Read more here.

17th May 2018

BOLDON LEGIONNAIRES’ OUTBREAK FIRM FALTEC EUROPE FINED 1.6M

Amongst other issues at the South Tyneside factory, there was an outbreak of legionnaires disease between October 2014 and June 2015.  The Legionnaire’s virus was traced to cooling towers at the site, which employs 500 people and makes parts for companies including Nissan and Honda. Judge Wood fined the firm £800,000 for the outbreak of Legionnaire’s. You can read more of the story here.

3rd July 2017

FIRM FACES LEGIONELLA CHARGES OVER DEATHS LINKED TO DISPLAY HOT TUB

Most of us, especially those operating spa facilities, understand the potential risk that hot tubs represent if legionella control is not taken seriously. But did you realise that they can pose risk to the whole environment; not just the immediate area of the facility?

Legionella transfers via tiny droplets of water so steam and sprays carry the most potential risk. The nature of these droplets is that they can spread in the atmosphere quite easily creating a sizeable area of risk.

This point is demonstrated by a case in Staffordshire where the deaths of 2 men from Legionnaire’s Disease have been linked to a discount outlet they both visited before falling ill. An investigation concluded that the probable source of the outbreak came from a hot tub that was on display in the store. Bosses of the store, JTF Wholesale, have been charged with corporate manslaughter and will go on trial later this year. See more details here.

DEATHS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED

The true tragedy of this is case is that these deaths could have been prevented. It may be that the organisation did not appreciate that a display hot tub should still be subject to the same process of legionella control as one that is in use, or they may have simply chosen to cut corners. Had they taken their responsibilities for meeting legislation set out in ACOP L8 seriously they would have recognised the importance of monitoring ALL water systems and ignorance is not an excuse. Not only have 2 men died, this case could lead to a custodial sentence for those implicated and have a serious negative impact on the whole business.

Are you confident you have all bases covered when it comes to legionella control? We can conduct a risk assessment and give you a definitive report on what needs to be done. It is so much better to take preventative action than deal with a crisis such as this one.

25th May 2017

FATAL INCIDENT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

The Premier Inn chain of hotels has issued an apology and paid compensation to the family of a guest who died after she was severely scalded by the shower at their Newcraighall hotel. The incident happened in 2012 to 59 year old Kalyani Uthaman from India. She died in hospital 6 weeks later after suffering from multiple organ failure as a result of the scalding. See the news story here.

The family’s lawyer, Glenn Miller, argued that the cause of the incident was the absence of a thermostatic mixer valve (TMV) installed on the shower system. The purpose of a TMV is to regulate the temperature of the water and would have prevented it getting hot enough to scald. Mr Miller said “They failed in their duty of care to Mrs Uthaman, who was having a shower. She should have been protected by a thermostatic mixing valve had a code of practice been followed.”

Where should TMVs be used?

TMVs are most commonly used in environments with people vulnerable to the risk of scalding such as hospitals, schools and care homes. While hotels do not specifically have to have TMVs installed, they do have a duty of care to maintain safe water temperature. A correctly installed, fully functioning TMV would have prevented this incident and we would certainly recommend them for hotels and leisure facilities as a strategy to achieve this.

Something that is also important to note is that TMVs also require some ongoing maintenance to ensure that they continue to work properly and for the purposes of legionella control. Therefore, just having them isn’t good enough in itself, you must make sure that they were properly installed and regularly serviced.

Click here for further information on TMVs and how we can help or call us on 01274 876700.

7th September 2016

A £1.8 MILLION FINE IS NOT THE ONLY COST TO SECURITY FIRM

G4S Cash Solutions has recently been fined £1.8 million after failing to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems. The company was investigated after a worker was reported to have contracted the disease, which can potentially prove fatal. While Harlow Council was unable to prove that the worker contracted the disease from the site, they did discover a series of failures to comply with water regulation controls. See the news report here.

These failures included:

  • Monitoring and testing of systems was erratic
  • Staff had received inadequate training
  • There were no up to date policies or suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place to safely operate or manage the building’s water systems
  • They did not take steps to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease
  • They ignored the advice and guidance from their own consultants and from the Council

The incident goes back to 2013 and it has taken 3 years for the company to reach minimum standards. The severity of the fine (plus court costs of £34,000) reflect the extent to which the company failed to take responsibility for water safety.

But what is the real cost of failure to comply?

The actual costs of this failure go much further than the financial cost of paying a fine. The reputation of the company has been severely damaged and its actions demonstrate a lack of care towards its staff or visitors. Ignorance is not a defense but that’s not even the case here as G4S received extensive guidance from its own consultants and from Harlow Council and still chose not to follow it. Instead it chose to willfully put people at risk and that has cost them dear.

August 22nd, 2019|Blog|