Department of Health

Key messages

  • The Victorian Legionella Risk Management Strategy has been successful in reducing the number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • The legal responsibilities of landowners and managers of cooling tower systems have been incorporated into the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019.
  • The key elements of the strategy remain in place today, and the Victorian Government is committed to continuing this regulatory framework.

Legionella Risk Management Strategy

In 2001, the Victorian Government developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce the incidence of Legionnaires' disease by strengthening the regulatory framework and improving the maintenance standards for cooling tower systems.

A Guide to developing risk management plans for cooling tower systems (the guide) was published as part of the Victorian Legionella Risk Management Strategy.  

The guide is designed to assist industry to develop risk management plans (RMPs) to control Legionella growth in cooling towers, particularly where the system is relatively simple in design and construction. Legionella bacteria can be spread through aerosol spray and cause outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

The Victorian Legionella Risk Management Strategy (the strategy) has been successful in reducing the number of cases of Legionnaires' disease. The legal responsibilities of landowners and managers of cooling tower systems have been incorporated into the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019.

The key elements of the strategy remain in place today, and the Victorian Government is committed to continuing this regulatory framework. Implementing the strategy is the responsibility of the Department of Health.

The key aspects of the strategy are to:

  • ensure that cooling tower systems are maintained at a high level
  • ensure that a comprehensive register of cooling tower systems is maintained
  • require the owners of any land on which there is a cooling tower system to prepare and implement an RMP for the effective maintenance of the system
  • require an annual audit of each RMP
  • provide for inspections of cooling tower systems on the basis of risk assessment or information received through audits
  • provide an outbreak investigation service through the department.

    Disclaimer

    This information is intended as a general guide only. It is not a guideline to, or statement of, how operators may comply with their legal obligations under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019. The State of Victoria and the department do not warrant that the content of these webpages is accurate, current, complete, or suitable for the use to which it may be put. The State of Victoria and the department disclaim all liability and responsibility for any loss or damage suffered through reliance on any information contained in, or omitted from, these webpages, or implementing any of the recommendations set out in this document. No person should act solely on the basis of the information contained on these webpages without first taking appropriate professional advice about their obligations in specific circumstances. 

    Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this publication show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services.

    Reviewed 19 December 2021

    Health.vic

    Contact details

    Our phone service is available Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 1.00pm. Postal address: GPO Box 4057, Melbourne Vic 3001

    Legionella team

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