Legionella hits the headlines!

6th November 2018


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.

June 21st, 2017|Blog|