A car parts manufacturer has been fined £1.6m following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease and an explosion at its factory.

Four staff and a nearby resident became seriously ill as a result of the outbreak. A worker also suffered serious burns in an unrelated explosion at the plant.

Incompetent

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) traced the Legionnaires’ virus to cooling towers at the site.

It found the company had failed to effectively manage water cooling systems causing legionella bacteria within the water supply to grow to potentially lethal levels.

Ellis Whittam discusses Legionella further here.

In relation to the explosion, an operator was attempting to recover a part that had come off production rollers. There was an explosive atmosphere within the machine during normal production. The part came into contact with an electrostatic grid that created a spark and caused a dust explosion.

The HSE found measures protecting operators from explosion risks were inadequate. This was despite previous explosions occurring. The court heard further that the explosion was as an ‘accident waiting to happen’ and the result of cost-cutting, incompetence and lack of training.

Faltec Europe Limited admitted breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was:

  • fined £800,000 for the Legionnaires’ outbreak
  • fined a further £800,000 for failings leading to the explosion
  • ordered to pay costs of £75,159

Controls

The HSE said:

  • improved control measures have since been enforced to better manage the Legionella risks
  • adequate control measures needed to be in place to prevent or mitigate explosions where dangerous substances create a fire and explosion risk

It added that:

  • the risks should have been assessed before the machine was put into use
  • previous incidents should have resulted in a comprehensive review by someone competent
  • operators need to be trained on the fire and explosion risks and understand the required controls

 

Find what you were looking for?

Our FREE resources library contains over 200 searchable blogs, guides and templates focused around Employment Law and Health & Safety issues that employers face on a day-to-day basis.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Get your FREE download

We combine the service quality of a law firm with the certainty of fixed-fee services to provide expert, solutions-focused Employment LawHR and Health & Safety support tailored to employers.

Call us on 0345 226 8393.

Before you go…

We can help with that HR problem or health and safety query. If you’re an employer, leave your details below and our team will call you back.

Register your interest

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Download your FREE guide

Submit your details below.

Request a callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Need some help?

Call our team now on:

01244 668 182

Request a Callback

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.

Request a Callback
Hi, how can we help?
Click the button below to chat to an expert.

Get your FREE consultation

Submit your details and one of our team will be in touch.