A South Tyneside car parts manufacturer has been fined £1.6million after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak and an explosion occurred at the same plant within a year. Newcastle Crown Court heard that between October 2014 and June 2015, two employees, two agency workers and a local resident fell seriously ill with Legionnaires Disease. HSE found the illness was caused by the company’s failure to effectively manage its water cooling systems within the factory, causing the legionella bacteria within the water supply to grow to potentially lethal levels. HSE found that adequate measures were not put in place to protect operators from explosion risks, this was despite previous explosions having occurred.
A Somerset pre-cast concrete products manufacturing company has been fined £660,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,563 after a maintenance fitter was fatally injured when trapped by machinery. HSE told the Court that when the site was inspected after the incident a spare key was discovered, which meant that access to machinery in the incident area was possible without turning off and isolating the machine. During the investigation HSE also found there was insufficient supervision over the isolation of machines; the company’s procedures for safe maintenance work were not consistently understood or applied, pointing to deficiencies in instruction and training; it was common for people to access dangerous areas while machines were running; and there were other spare keys which were easily accessible.
A recycling company has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 following an explosion and fire at their site in Surrey. Eight people were injured as a result of the explosion, five seriously and a thirty-year-old worker was placed in an induced coma and remained in hospital for fifteen weeks. An investigation found that the company had failed to ensure there was a safe system of work in place to reduce the risk of dangerous substances. The investigation also found that the company who designed the machinery which was used to in the recycling process, did not consider the likely misuse of the machine and that they had relied on generic data to determine whether an explosive atmosphere may arise.