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PUBLICATION OF NEW LEGIONNAIRES' GUIDANCE

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New Legionnaires' guidance, which advises what those responsible for smaller residential accommodation should be do...
New Legionnaires' guidance, which advises what those responsible for smaller residential accommodation should be doing to help prevent this disease, was launched at a seminar held by the Health and Safety Executive (see Note 1).

The free HSE leaflet Legionnaires' Disease. Essential Information for Providers of Residential Accommodation, highlights changes made to the Approved Code of Practice and guidance 'Legionnaires' disease: the control of legionella bacteria in water systems', (L8) when it was revised in 2000, which removed the 300-litre limit for hot and cold water systems.

It is aimed at everyone who may not realise that the ACoP now affects them as well, including local authorities; universities; housing associations; charities; hostels; private landlords; managing agents; hoteliers; and caravan & campsite owners.

In addition, the revised HSE video 'An introduction to the control of legionella bacteria in water systems', examines the two main risk systems - cooling towers and hot and cold water systems. It explains how the risks from exposure to legionella should be managed and controlled, by risk assessment; treatment and control; monitoring; and cleaning and disinfection; and is accompanied by a series of audit checklists.

Dr Jim Neilson, head HSE's unit covering biological agents' policy, said: 'It is important that those responsible for managing the risks from legionella in the workplace are aware of their legal duties. This video and leaflet give general advice on these responsibilities, the latter particularly focusing on issues specific to smaller premises associated with residential accommodation.'

Also announced at the seminar, which was attended by dutyholders, local authority enforcement officers, consultants, and water treatment management advisers, were the results of an evaluation into the revised ACOP.

The ACOP was evaluated by the Buildings Research Establishment in 2002, to ensure that any issues raised by the revision were dea lt with.

The research revealed that:

  • the general outlook of the document was positive, as most respondents were satisfied with the amalgamation of the previous guidance documents. They found it easy to understand and easy to follow;

  • it was suggested that an index and electronic copy of the document would be useful, assisting in navigation and ease of use of the document;

  • a number of key terms required further definition i.e. 'duty holders' and 'responsible persons';

  • respondents were satisfied with the level of guidance, but recommendations were made for areas of improvement, for instance: guidance for employers on document management systems; and further guidance on 'other risk assessments'.

    The full results of the evaluation will be published later in the year. Recommendations suggested by BRE do not require urgent or immediate implementation. The HSE will act upon their recommendations at the next revision exercise 2004/05.

    Copies of Legionnaires' disease. Essentialinformation for providers of residential accommodation, INDG 376 05/03 C1000, are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787-881165 or fax: 01787-313995. The leaflet is also available in priced packs of 100. Priced publications are also available from good booksellers.

    Copies of An introduction to the control of legionella bacteria in water systems, video

    ISBN 07176 2580 X, price £30.00 + vat, including a copy of the audit checklist are also available from HSE Books. Copies of Legionnaires' disease: Control of legionella bacteria in water systems: Audit checklists, ISBN 0 7176 2198 7, can be purchased individually, price £4.25 + vat.

    Copies of Legionnaires' disease The Control of legionella bacteria in water systems,

    ISBN 0 7176 1772 6, price £8.00, are also available from HSE Books.

    Notes:

    1. The seminar was attended by dutyholders, local authority enforcement officers, consultants, and water treatment managem ent advisers.

    2. The leaflet 'Legionnaires' Disease. Essential Information for Providers of Residential Accommodation' also advises that records must be kept for a minimum of five years; water treatment companies and consultants must show their service is effective; it links to appropriate sections of the ACoP; it includes details on all aspects of risk assessment control; includes tables which detail the monitoring requirements for cooling towers and hot and cold water systems.

    3. The Government requested that the revised ACoP was independently evaluated 12 months after it was published, to ensure that the publication was fit for purpose.

    4. Buildings Research Establishment conducted the research using a small focus group along with a postal and internet questionnaire.

    5. Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia, caused by a germ called Legionella pneumophila, and is the most well-known and dangerous strain from a group of diseases known as legionellosis (caused by Legionella bacteria). People catch Legionnaires' disease by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air that contain the bacterium. Legionella bacterium is widespread in nature, mainly thriving in water. Outbreaks occur from purpose-built water systems where temperatures are warm enough to encourage growth of the bacteria.

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