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Factory faces another health probe following legionella contamination

A South Tyneside factory is facing a fresh health probe after another worker was confirmed to have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, the Sunderland Echo has reported.

Faltec Europe was forced to shut down four cooling towers in June by the Health and Safety Executive after significant levels of the bacteria were found on site.

An investigation led by Public Health England and South Tyneside Council’s environmental health team had been launched after four workers at the factory, on Boldon Business Park, and a resident whose home overlooks the site required hospital treatment for Legionnaires’ disease between last October and May of this year.

A prohibition notice slapped on the firm by the Health and Safety Executive was lifted in September after safety improvements were put in place.

But now health experts are conducting a new investigation after a fifth worker was struck down by the disease in the space of just over 18 months.

The man is currently receiving hospital treatment.

Public Health England health protection consultant Dr Kirsty Foster said: “We do not know where the man acquired his infection, but are investigating all possible sources of infection, including his workplace at Faltec Europe in Boldon.”

A spokesman for Faltec, which has a workforce of nearly 500 people and makes components for the car industry, said: “We were informed on Tuesday that an agency worker is in hospital and has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. We wish him a speedy recovery.

“We have carried out a number of precautionary and proactive actions on site.

“Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have also visited our site and we continue to fully co-operate with their enquiries.”

The 13th Annual Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference will take place on 22-23 September at Aston Villa Park in Birmingham.

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