Faltec Legionnaires' Disease and explosion cases to be heard next month

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Charges against a Boldon company relating to an outbreak of potentially deadly Legionnaires' Disease and a fire in which an employee was injured will be heard next month.

The case against Faltec Europe Ltd was listed to go ahead at Sunderland Magistrates Court today, but this was an error by the listings department and the case is actually scheduled for Monday, March 6.

The firm is facing three charges in relation to two separate investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at its plant in Didcot Way, Boldon Business Park.

The first relates to the control of legionella risks after five cases of Legionnaires Disease – a serious and potentially-deadly lung infection – were said to have been caused by the water systems at the site.

Faltec faces two charges under Sections 3 and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act relating to the period between October 1, 2014 and June 6, 2015.

The first relates to failure to ensure that non-employees were not exposed to health and safety risks, while the second relates to people employed by the company – 'including, but not limited to, Stephen Wallace and Colin Bell'.

The car components factory hit the headlines in 2015, when it was at the centre of the Legionnaire’s outbreak.

It was ordered to shut down four cooling towers by the HSE after significant levels of the potentially-lethal bacteria were discovered on site.

Four workers at the factory and a nearby resident required hospital treatment after contracting the disease between October 2014 and May 2015.

The factory was given the all clear in September 2015 after the company put in place significant safety improvement measures.

The second HSE investigation relates to the control of fire and explosion risks following an explosion at the plant, on October 16, 2015, which injured a 20-year-old employee.

The charge states the company 'failed to ensure , so far as was reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees, including, but not limited to Luke Haswell, in relation to risks from fire and explosion during the operation of the flocking lines.'

A spokesman for Faltec said at the time that an urgent investigation had been launched following an incident on a factory production line which caused burns to the face of an employee.