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HSE reveals major anti-legionella drive

Two major initiatives designed to hit back at the growing number of legionella incidents in the UK were unveiled at the H&V News Combating Legionella conference. According to Dr Paul McDermott, a specialist inspector at the Health & Safety Executive, a nationwide inspection campaign will be launched within the next few months. He told delegates that while full details of the campaign were not yet available, it would focus on wet cooling towers, which are one of the most frequent sources of legionella outbreaks in the UK: 'The start date for the inspection campaign is likely to be in the final quarter [just after Christmas].' The revelation follows news that a record number of legionella incidents have been recorded in the UK over the last two years. Dr McDermott also said that while there are no current plans to review L8, the main item of regulation covering legionella, important new technical guidance would soon be released. 'Consultation shows that L8 is fit for purpose,' he told the conference. 'But we know it's not perfect with details of some new research not covered, so the HSE's Legionella Committee decided to provide technical guidance notes.' The guidance will cover a range of issues including the removal of pack from cooling towers for cleaning and disinfection, as well as other hybrid cooling equipment. 'Evaporative cooling allows recirculation of water and some systems can present a risk since stagnation can occur,' Dr McDermott added. The new guidance is expected to be published on the HSE website within the next couple of months.