Harbour office fails to prevent legionella bacteria exposure.

The Press & Journal have reported that, Ullapool Harbour Office has been issued with an enforcement notice by a health and safety watchdog after workers were at risk of being exposed to the bacteria which causes legionnaires’ disease.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors said a badly corroded condenser in an ice plant at the harbour created perfect conditions for legionella bacteria to breed.

They reported the machine had not been properly cleaned and that it could be unsafe to carry out routine maintenance as workers could fall.

The HSE said: “You have failed to ensure that the exposure of your employees to legionella bacteria from the operation of your evaporative condenser is prevented or adequately controlled.
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“The plant has not been maintained to ensure the cleanliness of the system and the water in it because the condenser is heavily corroded and the resultant iron may provide a nutrient source for legionella.”

The inspectors added: “You have failed to take suitable measures to prevent a person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury whilst undertaking routine safe control measures necessary for the safe operation of the condenser in your ice plant.”

The trustees of Ullapool Harbour have been given until the end of the month to take steps to make the condenser safe.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing legionella.

No-one from Ullapool Harbour was available for comment last night.