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March 16, 2017

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Comment: new HSE guidance on legionella and spa pools

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New Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance has been released on how the leisure industry can manage and control the risks from legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems, a move welcomed by testing and inspection specialist Bureau Veritas.

HSE has identified the risk posed by spa pools, which covers hot spas, hot tubs, whirlpool spas and portable spas, after a number of outbreaks linked to spa pools in leisure centres, hotels, holiday homes and on cruise ships.

The new guidance, titled The control of legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems, has been produced in consultation with Public Health England, together with local authority and industry representatives. It is designed to help those who manage and operate spa-pool systems assess and control the risk of legionella, which can cause the potentially life-threatening Legionnaire’s disease.

Paul Weston, Technical Manager for Bureau Veritas, which offers a range of indoor water quality services, said: “We know from our own experience working in the leisure industry that there has been a rise in the number of spa pools in recent years and it is telling that HSE has taken steps to issue specific guidance.

“As the HSE document states, spa-pool systems are a recognised source of diseases caused by infectious agents, and this is due to a number of factors. Water is stored or recirculated, often at temperatures of between 20–45°C, and it can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

“The new guidance document includes advice on effective ways to safely manage and control spa-pool systems, in order to help those in the leisure sector to comply with health and safety legislation. It covers all stages, from design and commissioning, to operation and maintenance, along with issues like testing and monitoring spa-pool water quality, as well as the quality and frequency of inspections.

“We welcome any guidance that can help organisations to meet their health and safety obligations, and HSE must be applauded for recognising this issue, which is an increasing concern for leisure industry operators, including local authorities, hotels chains, holiday park operators and cruise companies, amongst others.

“Of course, the best way to ensure you are meeting your requirements is to work with an independent, third-party partner like Bureau Veritas. We have the expertise, the insight and the resource to support any organisation with effective, trusted water hygiene services.”

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