Steel company fined for legionella risks
A company in Newport, Gwent has been fined for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Coilcolor Limited, a steel coatings firm, failed to properly manage risks of legionella bacteria at its cooling towers during a period of five years.
Officers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection of the company premises in November 2014. They discovered that two cooling towers had been operated on the site without putting any measures in place to control the risks of the bacteria spreading since 2009. A risk assessment of the operation of the cooling towers had not been carried out, a written scheme had not been put in place and both cooling towers were in a poor state of repair.
In addition, there had been no drift eliminators in place to control the spread of aerosol, and no water treatment schedule had been introduced. The employees had not been adequately trained to manage and recognise the risks.
The HSE inspector served Prohibition Notices immediately so that the cooling towers could not be used until appropriate measures were introduced. The inspector then served Improvement Notices in order for the management and assessment of risks to be implemented. Coilcolor Ltd received a fine of £75,000 in addition to the costs of £28,393.
Joanne Carter, HSE inspector, stated that the control towers presented significant risk to the public and employees until the proper controls had been put in place. PPE is mandatory for employees who are working in close proximity of any hazardous substances, to prevent serious injury or illness.