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Legionnaires’ outbreak at Automotive factory

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Legionella bacteria HBEA suspected fourth case of Legionnaires’ Disease has been identified at a Japanese automotive parts plant in Boldon, South Tyneside.

The first three confirmed cases of the disease were members of staff at the factory in South Tyneside and the fourth is a resident whose garden is close to the factory. This last case is likely to have acquired the infection before the control measures were put in place at the factory, as there is an incubation period between the infection and symptoms showing.

Dr Tricia Cresswell of the North East PHE Centre has advised that a range of actions have been taken by the company to treat and disinfect possible sources of the infection, including cooling towers and other water systems.

Although we do not yet know the facts around this outbreak, as it is still under investigation by the HSE, it is clear that all manufacturing plants with cooling towers MUST implement stringent processes around their water systems. It is not sufficient to simply undertake the minimum levels of activity to cover your responsibilities under legislation. The repercussions of getting the management and maintenance levels of your water hygiene wrong are too high, and as the HSE will advise you, possibly under caution, ignorance of your responsibilities will not protect you!

For advice on water hygiene and risk management of your built assets, contact us today on 0845 6399673 or email

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