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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
June 30, 2011

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HSE slams firms for ‘not taking legionella risk seriously’

Two companies must pay more than £250,000 in fines and costs for exposing workers and members of the public to legionella bacteria.

In April 2006, the HSE visited automotive-parts manufacturer Eaton Ltd’s factory in Tamworth, Staffordshire, after being notified by the Health Protection Agency that a worker at the site had contracted Legionnaires’ disease. The victim later died from the illness.€

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In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

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Elloboda
Elloboda
11 years ago

just because an outside contractor comes to your premises to do work or an inside contractor for that matter you still have to have all relavent health and safety and risk paperwork in place. i get the inpression some companys think they can pass the book to others if the work does not involve them. remember that person or persons is still under your roof which makes it your responsability to look after everyone concerned. do not be fooled by someone talking a good job just to make money.

James
James
11 years ago

I note the feeling that is expressed about someone being held responsible for the actions of others. Even more concerting is that my organsation is looking to ‘outsource’ as much as possible.
The base position is the employer is liable for anyone who may be affected by their undertaking, or business. This is a direct feed from S3 of HASAWa, and a good example is the Octel Associated case.

Malcolm
Malcolm
11 years ago

Once again we are reminded of how serious the threat of Legionnaires’ disease is especially where Evaporative “Wet Systems” cooling systems are in use.

Many of us will be reminded of the Forum 28 case relating to the arts centre in Barrow-in-Furness which whilst involving a different set of circumstances revealed the potential for multiple fatalities and infections.

Malcolm
Malcolm
11 years ago

Whilst the investigation did not reveal sufficient evidence of any link between the activity undertaken by Eaton Ltd and the death of its employee this is a tragic loss for the family of their employee. Had the link been established then the directors and senior managers from both Eaton and Aegis would have had to face a possible Gross Negligence Manslaughter charge if could be proved that this had been due to their act or omission.

Malcolm
Malcolm
11 years ago

Whilst the senior management of Eaton will have been aware of the importance of contractor management and acted accordingly this case should act as a reminder to others outside our profession that it is not possible to contract out liability for health and safety and the potential threat.

Whilst Aegis Ltd may have apparently been wound up there is a web presence and active phone number for a very similar sounding company in a similar location which may be of concern.

Malcolm
Malcolm
11 years ago

Most organisations will not have the expertise to manage this issue so contract out. However there is a need to have conducted a S & S legionella COSHH risk assessment which would require understanding of the L8 ACOP & guidance. They should then be able to check the contractor’s assessment.

You can see that the original standards of reporting of this article could have been a great deal better, just looking at the start “has contracted” should probably been had contracted and biocide “diocide”.

Ray
Ray
11 years ago

Steve, I agree with you to a point. However, some basic checks by Eaton would have revealed that the system was not in a fit and proper condition. The duty to ensure workers are safe lies with the employer. When engaging contractors the employer must be satisfied the contractors are competent and carrying out the task correctly – simple really

In your roof scenario, you would not be expected to check the SSoW of the contractor unless you were knowledgeable and were capable of checking it out.

Steve
Steve
11 years ago

This makes my blood boil! Why should a company who pays another proffessional firm to carry out a contracted task be fined when that firm is negligable? If you have to check yourself then you may as well do the job yourself. If I was a wheelchair bound writer and wanted a new roof on my writing room I would have to pay a contracter to do this, how could I possibly check that he is using a safe system of work? He falls – I’m sued! Ridiculous!! No wonder H&S has such bad press!