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Council Fined

Council and contractor fined after failing to manage risks at leisure centre

Carrickfergus Borough Council and Mr Patrick Buckler trading as Water Management Services Limited were sentenced on 19th March 2013 at Laganside Magistrates Court for breaches of health and safety legislation after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. The case was taken following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.

The case arose out of a failure to properly manage the risks associated with legionellosis at the Carrickfergus Amphitheatre, Prince William Way, Carrickfergus, which put both employees and members of the public at risk. The Council had engaged the services of Mr Buckler to assess the risks associated with their water systems. Mr Buckler had no specific training in health and safety or legionellosis and the risk assessments he had prepared for the Council were not suitable or sufficient.

In November 2011, following the issuing of an improvement notice, the Council employed a different water management company to carry out a risk assessment which found the risk of legionellosis as high. The Council then voluntarily closed the facility for a period of time to facilitate the remedial works to the water system.

The problems identified in the risk assessment included

the build up of slime and scale. These are well known hazards associated with the proliferation of legionellosis bacteria.

Carrickfergus Borough Council was fined £1,500 plus costs of £61 after pleading guilty to breaches of Article 4 and 5 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978.

Mr. Patrick Buckler was fined £750 plus costs of £61 after pleading guilty to breaches of Article 4 and 5 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978 and Regulation 6 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.

After the hearing Mr Louis Burns, Head of HSENI's Major Investigation Team said, "This case highlights the need for duty holders to properly manage the risks associated with legionellosis, a potentially fatal infectious disease. If they subcontract this work they must ensure that the contractors are competent to do the work properly and professionally. In this case Mr Buckler, trading as Water Management Services Limited was not competent and should not have been allowed to carry out important health and safety work involved in controlling legionellosis."

Source HSENI Website

 

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