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Businesses Urged to Protect the Public from Legionella

Hambleton District Council

4:50pm 16th August 2012

Hambleton and Richmondshire based businesses are being urged to be vigilant and help protect the public from exposure to legionella.

Companies with a cooling tower or evaporatorative condenser are being asked to make sure they are on the District Council’s Public Register.

Premises that may have towers or condensers include food manufacturers, factories, hotels, offices and chicken hatcheries.

The warning comes after the HSE issued a safety notice after common failings in legionella control were revealed in a review of outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in this country over the past ten years. Two significant outbreaks have occurred this year.

The HSE found that cooling towers and evaporative condensers are the most common source of significant outbreaks – 90% of outbreaks stemming from failure to recognise potential legionella problems or adopting effective control measures.

The safety notice also stresses the need for effective and consistent monitoring of water quality and the importance of responsibilities being assigned to named individuals with proper management oversight.

“Businesses have a responsibility to manage the risks they create to protect workers and the general public,” said Environmental Health Officer, Maria Bentley

“We urge our businesses to effectively manage the risks associated with these towers and condensers and to register their presence with the District Council- failure to comply with the law means they may face legal sanctions, including in the most serious cases prosecution through the courts."

The early symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include a 'flu-like' illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever.  People become infected when they inhale legionella bacteria which have been released into the air in aerosolised form from a contaminated source. Once in the lungs the bacteria multiply and cause either pneumonia or a less serious flu like illness (Pontiac fever).

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