The Health and Safety Executive are urging businesses to do more to protect workers and members of the public from exposure to legionella. They have identified common failings in legionella control from a review of outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in the UK over the past decade and they have issued a safety notice.
With the large outbreak in Edinburgh this summer and another one down south legionella seems to be a rising concern for many.
The Investigation concluded that cooling towers and evaporative condensers are the most common source of significant outbreaks. It was found that 90% of outbreaks were caused as a result of a failure to recognise potential legionella problems or to adopt effective control measures.
The HSE notice stresses the legal requirement for effective and consistent monitoring of water quality and the importance of assigning a manager to oversee testing and monitoring. This is not to be taken lightly as contracting legionella can prove fatal.
Failure to comply with the law means that companies will face legal sanctions, which can include prosecution through the courts.
The safety notice can be read here https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/coolingtowers.htm and HSE's guidance on managing legionella risk is available to download free:https://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-you-must-do.htm