Firms have been warned to carry out regular checks to protect employees from Legionnaires’ disease following the prosecution of a butchery processing company.
Wakefield-based Kepak UK was fined GBP 25,000 after it emerged that two employees, a packer and a boner caught the disease while working at its plant.
An outbreak committee formed by the Health and Safety Executive and several other health bodies and water samples were taken throughout the building, finding significant levels of legionella were found at three separate locations.
HSE inspector Dorothy Shaw said the firm failed in its duty to carry out simple checks on the hot and cold water systems, possibly exposing it to compensation claims.
"Any system containing water at temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius, and which may release an aerosol during operation or maintenance, is at risk of exposure to legionella bacteria," she added.
HSE figures show that every week 20 people die from exposure to asbestos diseases, which can also cause work-related illnesses.