The owner of a Derbyshire beauty salon has been fined £2,500 after six youngsters fell ill after using a bacteria-ridden spa pool.
The girls complained of earache and all reported an itchy, painful rash all over their bodies following a birthday pampering party at Kensington Salon and Spa in May 2013. They were later diagnosed with folliculitis, an infection of hair follicles that causes pus-filled pimples, which is brought on by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa and is often related to spa pool contamination.
During an investigation by South Derbyshire District Council, business owner Lisa Matthews showed Environmental Health Officers her spa water testing records, some of which had not been updated for well over a year.
A number of issues demonstrated a lack of maintenance – the tap to the foot spa was broken, there was a build-up of limescale on shower heads and more than 100 mosaic tiles were missing from in and around the spa, not only leaving a sharp surface but also providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Results from water and swab samples showed the premises were significantly contaminated with pseudomonas aeruginosa, in some areas 24,000 times above the acceptable level. Only the high levels of pseudomonas found prevented legionella bacteria alongside it from taking hold.
Matt Holford, the District Council’s environmental health manager, said: “It is crucial in premises such as these that water testing is regularly and properly carried out. prompt action “Thankfully, in this case the Council’s prompt action prevented other people from falling ill with what can be a potentially very serious condition.”
At Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court, Ms Matthews pleaded guilty to six charges of failing to ensure that her employees and her customers were safe and not exposed to the infectious agent pseudomonas aeruginosa. Magistrates said Matthews had been negligent and that her duty of care had fallen well below the expected standard.
Commenting on the story, Gemma Fisher-Sage of Servochem UK, which specialises in maintenance and cleaning chemicals for water leisure facilities said: “Cases like this are all too common unfortunately. Breakdowns in communication over cleaning procedures, coupled with tight budgets and staff turnover can all have a negative impact on hygiene standards and it’s a slippery slope.
“Quite often we have visited centres and opened a stock cupboard full of different cleaning products, but it can be very difficult for anyone to know what to use, where and when. Sticking to a regular and thorough cleaning regime is vital.”