An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive is liable to lead to Legionnaires’ disease prosecutions, after fatal cases of the disease in Edinburgh. In June 2012 an outbreak saw the deaths of four patients, while a further 45 individuals required hospital treatment. One potential source of the contamination was identified as cooling towers lying to the south-west of the Scottish capital. The local MSP, Marco Biagi, expressed concern about the period of time that had elapsed since the infection was initially reported.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can have fatal consequences. It is spread when water droplets containing harmful levels of the bacteria Legionella are inhaled. Although these bacteria are commonly found in stretches of water such as rivers, canals or ponds, they are at their most dangerous in manmade situations, like the cooling towers used in industrial settings or the pools in health spas. Symptoms include respiratory impairment, as well as pains in the sufferer’s limbs and joints. Some victims complain the condition was so debilitating they were left struggling to climb the stairs in their homes.
What can prompt Legionnaires’ disease prosecutions?
Like other potentially hazardous substances, Legionella bacteria is all around us in different water systems, but only becomes harmful to humans in certain environments. Because of its deadly impact, any situation where water is being stored must comply with basic health and safety standards. Risk assessments of cooling towers and other storage containers should take into account the possibility of the bacteria being spread. These systems should be appropriately maintained, with the water either being cooled below 20°C or heated higher than 60°C.
Contact Accident Advice Helpline
We are always here for you if you have suffered from something as unpleasant as exposure to Legionnaires’ disease. Many people in your situation are understandably put off by the thought of complex legal procedures, but please don’t be. Here at Accident Advice Helpline, we have spent over 15 years investigating whether or not compensation might be due on behalf of a wide range of clients. You are under no obligation to proceed, but if you call 0800 689 0500 then at least we can give you the option. Your case will be studied by our legal experts, who can give you the benefit of their immense experience.
Date Published: May 11, 2015
Author: David Brown