A safety notice imposed on a South Tyneside factory at the heart of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak remains in force – seven weeks after it was imposed, Shields Gazette has reported.
Faltec Europe, in Boldon Colliery, was ordered to shut four cooling towers by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after significant levels of the potentially-lethal bacteria were found on site.
The prohibition notice is still in place.
Four workers at the factory in Boldon Business Park, as well as a resident whose home overlooks the premises, have contracted the disease since October, with four of those cases occurring between April and May.
All required hospital treatment but were subsequently discharged.
As part of an investigation into the infection, the HSE served a prohibition notice on the firm on June 5.
Bosses at Faltec Europe are now using two chiller units on site to seal in cool water used in factory processes to prevent a risk of further infection.
They must satisfy experts at the HSE that there is no threat of further infection before the cooling towers can be brought back into use.
Sampling of the water systems identified the presence of significant quantities of the legionella bacteria.
The company locked off the cooling towers and carried out disinfection and control procedures.
The potentially-fatal lung condition does not spread from person to person, only via contaminated water droplets.
The factory remains open as usual.
Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference
The 12th Annual Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference will take place on 29-30 September at Aston Villa Park in Birmingham.
A comprehensive and cutting-edge event, the conference ensures engineering and facilities management teams are able to prevent legionella bacteria from developing and comply with water safety regulations.