Two Firms Prosecuted Over Safety Failings
A workplace injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell has called for lessons to be learnt from a case in which workers and the public were put at risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria due to safety failings.
Eaton Ltd and Aegis Water Treatment Ltd were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling around £250,000 in relation to the incident in 2006, when both firms were found to have failed in their duties to manage water cooling systems at the former’s plant in Brierley Hill.
It was confirmed that neither firm had taken steps to prevent the potential danger of Legionella through risk assessments or through cleaning and maintenance. Both firms were also thought to have failed to carry out such tasks over a long period of time.
David Urpeth, national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Companies must always take the necessary steps to keep both workers and the public safe from any potential risks which could arise during their operations.
“Sadly, the Health and Safety Executive found clear concerns that this was not the case here and it is welcome that action has been taken that will raise awareness of such dangers.
“We represent a number of people who have suffered as a result of exposure to Legionella bacteria and have seen how such illnesses can have a potentially life-changing impact on sufferers.
“Lessons need to be learnt from this case and I hope that both firms can provide reassurances that the same problems witnessed in this incident will not be seen again.”