£1.6 million fine for H&S breaches

Two serious H&S incidents occurred at the Faltec Europe Ltd car parts manufacturing plant within a year. Five people fell seriously ill following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease and one worker suffered serious burns to his face and arms from an explosion incident at the factory. 

The investigation

The investigation found that the company had failed to effectively manage its water cooling system within the factory, causing the legionella bacteria within the water supply to grow to potentially lethal levels.

An investigation by the HSE also followed the explosion and found that an operator attempted to recover a part that came off production rollers at the plant. The part he was retrieving came into contact with an electrostatic grid, which created a spark and caused a dust explosion. The investigation concluded that the company had failed to put adequate measures in place to protect operators from explosion risks, despite previous explosions having occurred.

What happened at court?

Faltec Europe Limited pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £1.6 million and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £75,259.73 to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a victim surcharge of £120.