HSE serves 'legionella' notices on two process companies
Edinburgh, UK – The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has served two process companies, North British Distillery Co. Ltd and Macfarlan Smith Ltd, with improvement notices in connection with an outbreak of legionella in Edinburgh.
The HSE cited North British Distillery for an alleged failure to control the risk of legionella in a cooling tower at its distillery on Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh. This, it said, includes allegedly failing to devise and implement a sustained and effective biocide control programme.
Under the improvement notice, North British Distillers must put appropriate controls in place by 29 June. While the notice refers to one cooling tower, the company has chosen to take all three cooling towers out of operation, the HSE noted.
“On 7 June we voluntarily took our cooling towers off-line until the legionella results from samples taken earlier this week are reported,” said a spokesman for North British Distillery. “While this precautionary operation is underway we have temporarily ceased distillation.
“Industrial cooling towers remain only one potential source of the infection and North British Distillery is one of a number of sites with such towers in Edinburgh. We continue to work closely with the HSE and all other relevant authorities in relation to this issue.”
Two improvement notices were served on Macfarlan Smith Ltd – one requiring it to carry out a thorough cleaning of one of its cooling towers at its facility, also on Wheatfield Road. The company must also provide access for inspection and maintenance of that cooling tower by 9 July.
The enforcement actions comes as part of the HSE’s ongoing investigation into a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in south west Edinburgh. Visits to other companies are ongoing.
Issuing the improvement notice does not mean that this cooling tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak, the HSE emphasised. The source of the outbreak, it noted, may never be conclusively identified, based on experiences from previous outbreaks.
HSE can issue an improvement notice if it believes that correct procedures are not being followed but there is not an immediate risk to workers or members of the public.