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Prison sentences for Responsible Persons who Ignored Advice over Legionella Risks

Two responsible persons who own a plastics manufacturing firm in Birmingham have been sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after a court found that they ignored recommendations over Legionella bacteria in a cooling tower at their business premises.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told that, between June 2017 and February 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers exposed employees of Isher Hangers, as well as members of the public, to potential risk at the site, which was situated in the close to two local hospitals.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found concerns raised by their own service provider were ignored, and no Legionella risk assessment was in place.

The men pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and were each sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £12,115 each.

“Isher Hangers was operating a cooling tower without biocide, ignoring the advice of their own consultants,” said HSE inspector Karen Sweeney. “Cooling towers have the potential to spread bacteria that can cause serious illness or death, if not maintained in accordance with the published guidelines.”

The key lessons here are that a suitable and sufficient Legionella risk assessment must be in place and you must act on the findings of this, along with the recommendations of your Legionella control service provider to prevent being left in a vulnerable position.  Click here to read our step-by-step guide on how to be compliant.

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