Increased risk associated with the operation of Wet Cooling Plant and Coronavirus outbreak

Date published: 19 March 2020

HSENI would like to remind dutyholders about the risk from legionella bacteria associated with the operation of wet cooling plant and the need to ensure the measures identified in the risk assessment and written scheme of control are being followed closely to ensure systems operate safely and are being adequately maintained at all times.

Legionnaires Disease can affect anyone and is of particular danger to the frail and elderly and those people who may have reduced or suppressed immune systems. It requires hospitalisation for treatment and can be fatal. In the current coronavirus crisis it is imperative that our health service is not put under any additional strain. Please ensure your wet cooling plant is maintained and operated safely at all times.

In this time of uncertainty where workers with responsibility for safety critical tasks and checks may be absent from work at short notice for long periods due to coronavirus it is vital that employers have the necessary measures and resources in place to ensure the continuity of safe systems. This will include adequately trained deputies and engineers to carry out checks and sampling as well as ensuring chemical supplies are maintained and dosed appropriately. Drift eliminators and fill packs must be in place and operating effectively.

Where these requirements cannot be guaranteed operators should liaise with their water treatment companies for assistance and if necessary cease operation of any plant that presents a higher than manageable risk. Where plant has been closed down all the necessary steps should be taken in keeping with HSG L8 and HSG 274 part 2 to ensure it is properly cleaned and prepared before restarting.


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