Legionnaire's Disease

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th July 1988.

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Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West 12:00 am, 5th July 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of how many additional Health and Safety Executive inspectors will be needed to enforce the rules designed to eliminate Legionnaire's disease.

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Employment

The Health and Safety Executive does not consider that additional inspectors are needed specifically for the enforcement of precautions against Legionnaire's disease.

Photo of Mr Greville Janner Mr Greville Janner , Leicester West

Does the Minister accept that the recent disaster at the BBC, which caused the death of at least two employees and grave danger within the corporation and to passers-by, could easily be repeated? Is he aware that the executive has not enough inspectors to pay proper, regular visita to vast establishments, including those which, like the BBC, have cooling towers? What steps does he propose to take to minimise the likelihood of the spread of what could be a devastating disease?

Photo of Mr Norman Fowler Mr Norman Fowler Secretary of State for Employment

As I have already said, the Health and Safety Executive does not consider that additional inspectors are needed in that kind of case. The investigation into the BBC by the Health and Safety Executive is still under way and we have to await the outcome. Obviously, any lessons learnt will be acted upon. The prime responsibility in such cases rests with the employers. There has been new HSE guidance on Legionnaire's disease, and I understand that the BBC was aware of it. That, of course, is one of the matters that we shall need to examine.