THE British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned businesses that they “must do more” to protect workers and the public from Legionnaires’ disease.
The safety bulletin follows in the wake of a fresh outbreak in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, which yesterday claimed its first victim. A further 15 people have contracted the disease so far. It is the second outbreak to hit the UK within a matter of months, with one Edinburgh man dying after being infected in early June.
Some of the major sources of Legionnaires’ are industrial cooling towers and evaporative condensers. The warm water in the systems can provide a breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria, inhalation of which can cause a high fever and pneumonia with potentially fatal consequences.
HES Legionella expert Paul McDermott says that businesses have “a responsibility to manage the risks they create to protect workers and the wider public.”
“This is a reminder to them of what the law expects,” he adds. “Failure to comply with the law means they may face legal sanctions, including in the most serious cases prosecution through the courts.”
In its bulletin, the HSE says that some of the biggest risks of a Legionnaires’ outbreak can come from changes in maintenance schedules, intermittent use of a plant and unusual weather conditions – the bacteria multiply faster when it is warm.
Read More @: http://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/coolingtowers.htm