UK: Faltec Europe, a car parts manufacturer, has been fined £800,000 after a legionnaires’ disease outbreak at its factory in South Tyneside.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that between October 2014 and June 2015, two employees, two agency workers and a local resident fell seriously ill with legionnaires’ disease. HSE found the illness was caused by Faltec’s failure to effectively manage its water cooling systems within the factory, causing the legionella bacteria to grow to potentially lethal levels.

The outbreak was traced to two cooling towers on the site in Boldon. The firm subsequently shut the cooling towers down and replaced them with water chillers.

Faltec Europe Ltd of Didcot Way, Boldon in Tyne and Wear pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £800,000. The company was also fined a further £800,000 for an explosion at the factory in an unconnected incident.

In addition to the fines, the company was also ordered to pay costs of £75,159.73 and a victim surcharge of £120.

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