Council sentenced after legionella death at care home
Reading Borough Council (RBC) has been fined following an investigation into the death of a pensioner who died from exposure to legionella, whilst staying at an RBC care facility during 2012.
The 95 year old pensioner had previously been in hospital having suffered a broken leg and was attending the care facility to receive intermediate care before returning to his own home.
However, during his stay he began feeling unwell, complaining of aches and pains including tightness of the chest, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. He was also suffering from nausea.
He was re-admitted to hospital and a sample proved positive for the presence of Legionella, and despite receiving treatment died from pneumonia related to legionella.
An investigation found that the control measures reducing the risk of legionella at the care facility were not robust enough in a number of key areas.
The Legionella training for the key personnel was significantly below the standard required, and there were inadequate temperature checks and some of those done with respect to Thermostatic Mixer Valves (TMVs) were done incorrectly.
Showers were not descaled and disinfected quarterly as required; flushing of little used outlets was reliant on one member of staff and there was no procedure for this to be done in the absence of that member of staff.
The monitoring, checking and flushing tasks were given to the home’s handyman who was inadequately trained and supervised. There was no system in place to cover for him when he was away so that the requisite checks were not done.
Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading admitted breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 with £20,000 costs in Reading Crown Court.