New UK HSE regulations
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released new guidelines for the management and maintenance of spa pools, HSG 282.
This can be downloaded free from: The control of legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems.
The new guidelines explain.operating, maintenance, testing and monitoring, and the quality and frequency of inspections. It specifically explains how rapid testing can be incorporated in a risk assessment and monitoring regime.
It outlines the legal responsibilities of commercial entities, from manufacturers to operators. It also includes guidance for domestic users in rented flats, holiday rentals, hotel rooms and show room display units.
Legionella bacteria in spa pools systems
Spa-pool systems, which include whirlpools and hot tubs, are a known source of diseases including Legionnaires’ disease. Hot tubs or spa pools are popular in gyms, hotels and increasingly in people’s back gardens. Hot tub sales in the UK are growing at more than 20% a year, much of which is due to installations at leisure and holiday rental properties.
The water in hot tubs is typically kept around 30 to 35C, which is the ideal temperature for Legionella bacteria to grow. The aerosols produced by splashing and bubbling in a hot tub can then throw the water droplets contacting the bacteria into the air, and these can then float, potentially for considerable distances. As a result, you don’t even have to be sitting in the hot tub to inhale the bacteria, though an infected tub can create dramatic levels of exposure for those that do.
For example, in 2012, a warehouse store with a dirty hot tub display caused an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease which resulted in two fatalities and more than eighteen hospitalizations. In the summer of 2017, they were fined £1 million for their negligence.
Find out more about Legionella and Legionnaire's disease.