A CARE home company based in Harrow has had to fork out almost £9,000 after putting elderly residents at risk of catching potentially fatal legionnaires' disease .
SJ Care Homes, of Milton Road, Harrow, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the company failed to comply with an enforcement notice issued at one of its nursing homes.
HSE inspector Sandra Tomlinson issued the notice after a routine visit to Beech House Nursing Home, in Manchester, on February 24 last year.
The visit revealed the care home did not have the required precautions in place to control legionella bacteria.
The company was given six weeks to write a plan for managing the level of the bacteria in the care home's water system, but when the inspector revisited on April 6, 2009, no action had been taken.
After the hearing at Trafford Magistrates' Court, Ms Tomlinson said: "It is vital that care homes have plans in place to make sure the level of legionella bacteria in their hot water systems does not become unsafe.
"Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, which mainly affects older people and those with poor health.
"Sadly, SJ Care Homes didn't take this risk seriously and failed to act, even when we issued a formal written warning. We therefore had no other choice but to prosecute."
SJ Care Homes pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,607 towards the cost of the prosecution at Trafford Magistrates' Court on April 7, 2010.