Lessons to learn from JTF Warehouse’s display of hot tubs

As the sad news of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at JTF Warehouse, in Staffordshire five years ago hits the headlines once more, BISHTA again sends its condolences to the families of those people affected.

BISHTA’s primary purpose is to promote safe hot tub standards, and this preventable occurrence highlights the safeguarding responsibilities of all those involved in the industry.

The announcement of the £1M fine for JTF Warehouse, following the death of two people from Legionnaires’ disease and a further 20 people contracting the disease, is a landmark moment for the hot tub industry in the UK.

Every reputable hot tub company is aware that these deaths were completely avoidable had JTF Warehouse put in place a robust water hygiene management regime. Consisting of sufficient levels of staff for the size of the location, trained to know how to maintain the spa water safely with a proper chlorine or bromine residual, combined with good pH control.

BISHTA members all over the country will be regularly treating their water in showrooms, at exhibitions and for hot tubs in holiday accommodation to ensure they are safe.  They will continue to advise on regular monthly microbiological testing.

They will also be passing on valuable ‘easy to understand’ advice to their customers about maintaining their own spa water safely, and it is vital that people buying products know how to look after the water safely for themselves, their family and guests.

BISHTA was formed following the 1999 Legionnaires‘ disease hot tub outbreaks in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the strapline of ‘Promoting Safe Spa Water’. Prior to that, the SPATA Standards for spa pools were used for hot tubs. The BISHTA Standards set out the requirements for members and all those companies that join BISHTA have to have received training in water hygiene management before they can be certified by the trade association. BISHTA has been running courses on water hygiene management since its formation, and refresher training on this topic is required to maintain up to date knowledge.

There is a great deal of other industry guidance on hot tubs, including the HSE Approved Code of Practice document (referenced as ‘L8’). Along with The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems, and the HSE online document ‘HSG 282’ The Control of Legionella and other infectious agents in spa pool systems (which supersedes the Management of Spa Pools, 2006 joint publication from HSE and HPA).

BISHTA urges everyone involved in the industry to get themselves updated on the latest HSG 282 (17/05 issue) by attending a BISHTA water hygiene management course and downloading a copy of the guidance from the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg282.htm

If everyone followed BISHTA Standards, this would prevent a reoccurrence of this tragedy, to keep hot tub users and passers-by safe from harm.