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HSE reminder on water systems safety during lockdown
The Health & Safety Executive has reminded building occupiers, businesses and other duty holders restarting operations after the shutdown to review their water systems' maintenance arrangements to avoid creating a public health hazard from waterborne bacteria such as legionella.
Water stagnation, poor temperature control and increased levels of contamination may create a hazard in water systems that have been less frequently used than normal (such as dental or outpatient facilities) or where operation has been suspended (such as leisure, sports, swimming and spa pool facilities).
To prevent such situations leading to outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease, duty holders must take all reasonably practicable precautions to control the risks from build-up of legionella bacteria before recommencing operations.
An HSE bulletin  reminds duty holders that:
- Water systems supplying 'critical systems', such as hospitals, should be continuously maintained in accordance with the Department of Health & Social Care technical memorandum, Safe water in healthcare premises (HTM 04-01)
- Evaporative cooling systems should be continuously maintained, or switched off, in accordance with the HSE technical guidance, Legionnaires' Disease Technical Guidance: The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems (HSG 274 part 1)
Public Health England has published a leaflet covering the types of occupiers that need to take action, carry out risk assessments and implement mitigation measures; the leaflet also signposts to further sources of advice and support.
21st May 2020