I remember some years ago, that there were a number of outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease in quick succession.
For those who are not aware, this is a bacteria that lives in the water supply. It favours in particular stagnant water supplies, those with very little movement where it can easily replicate in a warm environment and it therefore tends to be found in large air conditioning units which at the same time force warm air into an environment and therefore provide an ideal opportunity for the Legionnaire bacterium to be spread.It is then inhaled, gets into the respiratory tract and lungs and can lead to death.
It is not just found in air conditioning units. The very sad death of Mr Edward Warnes in Scotland who I understand died of Legionnaires Disease involved Legionnaires bacteria having been allowed to collect in a hot but and showerheads. The risk of Legionnaires Disease has been known for many years. There are regulations that require air conditioning units, showerheads etc to be sanitised on a regular basis and this is very much therefore a death that could easily have been avoided.
I note that the Health & Safety Executive subsequently prosecuted and the Defendant company involved pleaded guilty to breaches of the appropriate regulations and were fined as a result.A fine is of course paltry in comparison to the death of Mr Warnes and follows on from the blog that I wrote earlier in the week about my concerns in relation to the Health & Safety Executive receiving reduced funding which I anticipate may be the case given the current economic environment.
Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker. If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or claim online and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.