HSE Legionella e bulletin

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Welcome to the HSE Legionnaires' Disease eBulletin

In this edition we will focus on new external guidance, recent prosecutions and the HSE Water Treatment Contractor Intervention Programme.

Free Factsheets on Rapid Microbiological Testing Methods

The Water Management Society Rapid Microbiology Industry Liaison Group has produced a series of factsheets  - these guides are intended to give an unbiased and objective view on the latest commercially available rapid testing technologies.  These are brief, factual guides which were previously only available to WMSoc members, but have now been made freely available to download.  The series currently consists of factsheets on:

  • IMS (Legipid)
  • MPN (Legiolert™)
  • MPN (Pseudalert™)
  • PCR (Biotecon Diagnostics)
  • PCR (Bio-Rad)

Recent Prosecutions

In December 2018 Tendring District Council pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £ 27,000  plus £ 7,500 costs, after a member of the public contracted Legionnaires’ Disease from a leisure centre hot and cold water system.  The significant failings included not having suitable and sufficient Legionella Risk Assessments for the leisure facilities and not providing adequate control measures required for Legionella control. Staff were not adequately trained and a lack of monitoring meant these failings went unnoticed for several months.

HSE Water Treatment Contractor Intervention Programme

HSE Field Operations Division inspectors are undertaking a series of head office visits to Legionella third party service providers between January and March 2019.  This intervention is a commitment made in the 2018/19 Business Plan and will contribute towards the control of high-consequence risks from Legionella.  Visits will be targeted towards third party contractors providing water treatment services, legionella risk assessments and cleaning and disinfection services.


Recent HSE cooling tower interventions indicate that whilst risk management is improving, analysis suggests that some dutyholders have struggled to achieve sustained compliance and that a contributory factor in this, may have been poor or inadequate service provision.


Visits will be focusing on some of the following areas:

  • how service providers cooperate and communicate with clients, especially once issues have been identified (e.g. non-compliance with the Approved Code of Practice (L8) or when there is evidence of inadequate control).
  • training and supervision of service provider employees.
  • how risk assessments and cleaning activities are planned and access arranged to work at height and operational evaporative cooling systems.
  • whether respiratory protective equipment is adequate and suitable for the cleaning of evaporative cooling systems.

Forthcoming Events

On 28 March 2019, Duncan Smith, HM Principal Specialist Inspector of Health and Safety will discuss the findings and conclusions of recent HSE Cooling Tower Intervention Programme at the next conference of the Water Management Society.  Further details on the programme and how to book are available at https://www.wmsoc.org.uk/conferences.php?id=695



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