Legionnaires’ deaths: Stoke-on-Trent firm JTF fined £1m

Twenty others were also affected after a hot tub on display at JTF warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent exposed people to harmful levels of Legionella bacteria.

Richard Griffin and William Hammersley, 79, from Chesterton, died in 2012. A third man, Harry Cadman, 71, from Stoke-on-Trent, died from a pre-exisiting condition.

JTF admitted a health and safety breach. In a joint statement, relatives of the men criticised JTF for remaining faceless throughout and never apologising or showing compassion. The family of 64-year-old delivery driver Mr Griffin had already said he had never taken a day off in 30 years.

Although Mr Cadman did not die from Legionella bacteria, his quality of life was "severely impaired" by the disease before his death.

JTF Wholesale, which runs 12 discount warehouses across the North and Midlands, admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £1m, and the company had already paid out a “significant settlement” on behalf of the victims in 2015.

After the sentencing, JTF apologised "unreservedly" for its failings that had such "devastating consequences".

A report by the Health Protection Agency in 2012 said the hot tub was the probable source of the "significant" outbreak. Since the deaths, a new board of directors and senior management team had been appointed at the company. "A rigorous and extensive review of the company's health and safety controls, management procedures and risk assessments has been completed."

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