Legionnaires' disease outbreak
Published: 06 Jun 2012
Health officials in Edinburgh have said it could take until the weekend before the extent of the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease is known.
One man has died so far in the outbreak and 16 cooling towers in the city have been treated to kill the bacteria. However, because of its incubation period, more cases of Legionnaires' disease were expected. NHS Lothian have stated they are dealing with 17 confirmed cases and another 15 suspected cases of the disease.
Dr Duncan McCormick, chair of NHS Lothian's incident management team said, "The incubation period of Legionnaires' disease is between two and 14 days but the average is five or six days, so we're expecting to have more cases over the next few days. But if our evidence and reaction have been correct, we hope to have removed the source through our shock treatment of these cooling towers. We'd hope that by the weekend - five or six days after the treatment, we'll start to see a decline in cases."
The source of the infection is still being investigated with the potential area for infection estimated at about 44 square miles. Cooling towers in the south west of Edinburgh have been treated with a range of chemicals, including chlorine and bromine to kill the bacteria, and people living in the Gorgie, Dalry and Saughton areas are now considered to be at low risk. However, adult males who have an alcohol habit and an underlying illness such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease are at greater risk and should contact their GP or NHS 24 if they start feeling symptoms of flu-like illness, together with diarrhoea, cough and confusion.
Dr McCormick has stressed that there is no threat to the city's public water supply. "The public water supply in Edinburgh is extremely closely monitored and in addition it's not possible to contract Legionnaires' disease through drinking water. It's contracted through the inhalation of water vapour in the form of an aerosol and that doesn't happen through drinking water supplies."
For more information, see the:
- the Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations SI 1992/2225;
- the HSE's advice page on Legionella and Legionnaires' disease, available at http://cedr.ec/9e;
- L8 - Legionnaires' disease;
- INDG253 - Controlling legionella in nursing and residential care homes;
- INDG458 - Legionnaires' disease.
The return of the 'Rogue Trader'
Published: 01 Jun 2012
Brian Lloyd, from Ossett near Wakefield, was exposed in 2009 by the BBC's "Rogue Traders" for carrying out illegal gas work in homes. The self-employed plumber was under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at the time and was then successfully prosecuted in February 2010, which resulted in a fine and a 17-week prison sentence that was suspended for 12 months.
However, Mr Lloyd removed an old boiler and gas fire from a house in Ossett and then installed a combination boiler in August 2010. This was in contravention of a Prohibition Notice issued by the HSE which prevented him from carrying out gas work until he was registered as a Gas Safe engineer. At the time of the work, he was also under his suspended sentence.
Unfortunately for Mr Lloyd, the new boiler didn't work and despite the fact that the householder had asked for a Gas Safe certificate and boiler warranty, they were not provided. Subsequently, the householder discovered that the boiler had never been registered with its manufacturer.
Following this, a Gas Safe engineer inspected the boiler and classified it as 'at risk', citing a list of faults that had to be rectified.
Mr Lloyd was ordered at Leeds Crown Court to pay court costs of £500 and was given a 12-month community order and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work.
The chief executive of the Gas Safe Register, Paul Johnston, said, "Consumers should always check that an engineer is qualified to carry out gas work. Ask to see an up-to-date ID card and call us to check if you have any doubt. It is also important to check the back of the card to ensure that they are qualified to work on that type of appliance. If you have any doubts about the gas safety of any work you have done then contact Gas Safe Register to request a free inspection."
For more information, see:
HSENI statistics to be released in July
Published: 01 Jun 2012
Scotland stay abreast of waste legislation
Published: 31 May 2012
A recent report published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), "Waste Data Digest 12: Key facts and trends", shows that Scotland is changing its attitudes and practices toward the disposal of waste and is trying to become a more waste aware and sustainable nation.
Jim Pritchard, SEPA's Data Unit Manager, said, "Less waste is being generated and landfilled and household recycling is on the increase. This demonstrates that not only is recycling becoming part of every day life for many people, so is reducing the amount of waste that is produced in the first place."
Mr Pritchard continues, "The trends indicate that regulations are making a difference to Scotland's environment. The Landfill (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2003/235 require pre-treatment of waste before landfill and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2012/148 ban biodegradable municipal waste from landfill from 2021."
Key facts in the report include:
- total amount of waste generated fell by 10% between 2006 and 2010, largely due to reductions in industrial waste;
- amount of waste recycled by Scottish local authorities increased by 21% over the five year period;
- amount of waste composted by Scottish local authorities increased by 27% over the five year period;
- amount of controlled waste treated in 2010 was 50% greater than in 2006;
- amount of controlled waste landfilled fell by 37% between 2006 and 2010;
- between 2006 and 2010, the amount of biodegradable waste landfilled fell by 30%.
For more information, see:
- SEPA Waste Data Digest, http://cedr.ec/8r.
New Waste (Scotland) Regs
Published: 31 May 2012
The Waste (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2012/148 have been published, which provide for the collection, transport and treatment of dry recyclable waste and food waste, and related matters, through a series of amendments to the:
- Environmental Protection Act 1990;
- Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2000/323;
- Landfill (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2003/235;
- Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2011/228.
The amendments introduce new requirements through the duty of care, on those who:
- produce controlled waste, other than occupiers of domestic property, to make sure that dry recyclable waste is collected separately from 1 January 2014;
- control and manage a food business to ensure the separate collection of food waste from 1 January 2016;
- collect and transport controlled wastes to keep all separately collected wastes separate;
- produce food waste, other than on domestic properties or in a rural area, to make sure that waste is not deposited in a drain or sewer from 1 January 2016; and
- produce or manage controlled waste to make sure that high quality waste is available for recycling.
They also place a ban on:
- materials collected separately for recycling going to landfill or incineration from 1 January 2014;
- biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill from 1 January 2021.
CDM Regulations to be rewritten
Published: 29 May 2012
Those Regulations establish provisions regarding health, safety and welfare in construction by placing various responsibilities on those involved in construction projects.
The announcement came at an Association for Project Safety (APS) event, although the exact details of the new Regulations will not be know until a HSE Board Paper is presented in December. However, it has been suggested that they will probably be based more closely on the requirements of Directive 1992/57/EEC, on the minimum health and safety requirements at temporary or mobile construction sites.
This redraft also comes in light of the Löfstedt report, which recommended a review of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations SI 2007/320.