B&ES Publications has urged compliance after legionnaires deaths in Edinburgh.
In a statement the company said: “The legionella outbreak in Edinburgh last month has again forced buildings’ maintenance and health and safety standards into the spotlight.
“Two people have died and many remain in intensive care from legionnaires disease, which investigators apparently believe originated in one or more cooling towers in the area.
“The incident demonstrates the seriousness of poor maintenance in failing to control legionella in a building’s water system.
“B&ES Publications is urging businesses and building owners to follow a strict programme of maintenance to ensure compliance with statutory obligations and prevent penalty and prosecution.
“Alan Gregory, Chairman of the B&ES Service and Facilities Group, said: ‘Our industry is acutely aware that legionella bacteria is always present, just waiting for the right set of conditions to allow it to manifest. This cannot be ignored. As building owners, managers and contractors, it is our responsibility and we must act now.’
“Would your business survive the implications of failing to meet its legal requirements, which could include an unlimited fine and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment?
“Past cases of legionella outbreaks include cider-maker HP Bulmer and its water treatment contractor Nalco Ltd, which were prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and fined over £300,000 each.
“There is also the danger of prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 for death through a gross breach of a duty of care. It’s only a matter of time before we witness the first conviction.
“Alan Gregory said: ‘The maintenance of building services can be realistically prioritised, accurately budgeted for and reliably delivered with a customised programme of maintenance and refurbishment.’
“Many contractors rely on the maintenance schedules defined by B&ES Publications’ SFG20, widely regarded as the industry standard for businesses or individuals responsible for maintaining, managing or specifying the maintenance of building services.
“A web-based service, such as SFG20, will ensure maintenance schedules are always up to date and will keep equipment operating at its best.”