Suspended sentences for bosses who ignored consultants’ advice over Legionella risk

Two men who ran a plastics manufacturing firm in Birmingham have been sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after a court heard they ignored concerns raised over Legionella bacteria in a cooling tower at their business premises.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told that, between June 2017 and February 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers exposed employees of Isher Hangers, as well as members of the public, to Legionellosis at the site, which was situated in the vicinity of two local hospitals.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found concerns raised by their own water treatment consultants were ignored, and no Legionella risk assessments were in place.

Kulwant Singh Chatha and Satpaul Kaur Chatha pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) and s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and were each sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £12,115 each.

“Isher Hangers was operating a cooling tower without biocide, ignoring the advice of their own consultants,” said HSE inspector Karen Sweeney. “Cooling towers have the potential to spread bacteria that can cause serious illness or death, if not maintained in accordance with the published guidelines.”