Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Legionella investigation focuses on cooling towers

Two companies in south-west Edinburgh have been ordered by the Health and Safety Executive to improve their cooling tower cleaning regimes following the outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the city.

However, neither have been identified as the cause of the outbreak, which has seen two men die and nearly 90 people affected.

More companies were being investigated as H&V News went to press.

The first improvement notice was issued to the North British Distillery Company.

The HSE had visited the company as part of its investigation and issued the notice when it found a failure to devise and implement a sustained and effective biocide control programme in one cooling tower.

The company responded by closing all three of its towers.

Pharmaceutical firm Macfarlan Smith was also ordered to carry out a thorough cleaning of one of its cooling towers and provide access for inspection.

The HSE said the notices did not indicate an immediate risk from legionella, as this was being controlled by the use of chemicals and the voluntary shutdown of cooling towers.

Susanne Lee, from public health specialist Leegionella, told H&V News: “Evaporative cooling towers and condensers associated with industrial processes and comfort cooling pose the highest risk of causing large community outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease.”

Cuts in funding had reduced enforcement bodies’ capability to carry out precautionary inspections, she added.

OHS water hygiene manager Andrew Mount said previous outbreaks have revealed failings in risk assessments, poor training and procedures, inadequate system control and monitoring and audit control regime failure.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.