Legionella warning on hot and cold water systems
The HSE has issued a second notice in three months warning businesses of the need to manage the risks from legionella.
Issued yesterday (19 September), the safety notice is aimed at organisations that use hot and cold water systems for bathing and washing, or in manufacturing processes, including care homes and leisure centres with spa pools.
It follows the publication of a separate notice in July aimed at companies with cooling towers and evaporative condensers, which were identified by the HSE as the most common source of major outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease over the last 10 years.
The latest notice stresses the need for measures to be in place to control identified legionella risks and that these should be reviewed regularly.
HSE legionella expert Paul McDermott said: “While the numbers of people potentially affected by poorly-maintained water systems and spa pools are likely to be smaller than poorly-maintained cooling towers, there can still be fatal consequences. These can’t be ignored.”
“The information and guidance on managing legionella risks are well-established and readily available. Control measures should be in place and under regular review. The safety notice is not asking employers to do anything more than they should be doing already.”
Informed by its research on major outbreaks, the HSE and local authorities are now developing a range of initiatives to promote improved control of legionella risks. As well as collaborating with industry to improve standards and advice, regulators have also vowed to follow up the safety notices with some compliance checks, in areas where the impact of poorly-managed legionella risks could be greatest.
The safety notice, 'Management of the risks from legionella in water systems', can be read at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/legionella2.htm The earlier safety notice, 'Management of the risks from legionella in cooling towers and evaporative condensers', can be read at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2012/hex1207.pdf
Finally, the HSE report, 'Legionella outbreaks and HSE investigations; an analysis of contributory factors', which was commissioned in 2011, is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2012/hex1207.pdf
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