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15 Nov 2013
Posted By: Richard Hunter
Comments: 1

Does Your Business Have a Cooling Tower? Expect a HSE Audit Soon!

In light of the recent threat posed by Legionnaires' disease to the UK water supplies, the HSE have implemented an Intervention Programme to protect cooling towers from becoming infected with this potentially fatal bacteria.

What is Legionnaires?

Legionnaires' disease is a serious form of pneumonia that devolves from the Legionella bacteria, known to reproduce most efficiently in stagnant water. In 2011, there were 235 reported cases of the disease in England and Wales alone. The HSE hopes that by auditing the UK's cooling towers, this number should be set to fall between 2012 and 2014, when the Intervention Programme will run.

The Intervention Programme

The HSE has adopted the powers to take interventional action should they conclude that a tower's records/actions are not in compliance with ACoP L8. The audit looks for compliance in four main areas:

1. Risk Assessment

Ensuring that risk assessments are carried out every two years, or more frequently where changes occur. These should be able to effectively identify any potential sources of risk in order to eliminate them from the system.

2. Written Scheme

This should identify the accountability of each responsibility, setting out a clear 'who does what' procedure for dealing with potential risks. Details on site operation, risk assessments, cleaning and reviews should also be listed for the cooling tower.

3. Implementing and Controlling the System

This should detail system monitoring procedures, control parameters for water treatment and titles such as membership of the LCA for the water treatment company.

4. Record Keeping

Water treatment companies should have extensive and accurate record keeping detailing reports, external visits, log sheets and any relevant information relating to the site's cooling tower(s).

What Next?

The HSE aims to effectively target the outbreak of legionnaires disease to prevent infection around the UK, by enforcing these standards with a combination of assessment and action.

More Information

For more information about Legionnaires' disease and for practical advice regarding its prevention visit the HSE site.

Alternatively, feel free to email us at info@advanced-water.co.uk

Comments

  • Regular audits and servicing are fundamental to any cooling tower maintenance programme. Debris contamination in fill ponds increases the biological sludge that bacteria feed upon. This can be minimised by fitting air intake screens to the cooling towers. Keep the contamination outside in a place where it can be easily removed. Richard Betts - RAB Specialist Engineers

    24th April 2014 - Richard Betts

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