A UK Council has been prosecuted by the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and fined £27,000 after uncovering a “catastrophic failure” in the Water hygiene control measures at a leisure centre under their control, where member of the public contracted Legionnaires’ Disease.
The failures identified by the HSE during their investigation concluded that following a decision to bring the services in-house, the Council staff were inadequately trained to deliver the service to a satisfactory standard over a 10 year period.
The District Judge said that the council’s fine would have been 10 times higher, had it not been a public body.
The key learning from this prosecution is that competence levels for in-house staff delivering water hygiene services must be routinely monitored and audited, as all external contractors’ staff would be. To have these critical services delivered by inadequately trained and unaudited staff, whether in-house or by an external contractor, is not acceptable in this day and age.