Sectors > Sports and Leisure

Sports and Leisure

Any facility that provides sports or leisure services has an obligation to protect the general public from Legionella bacteria and must be able to prove that a comprehensive control scheme is in place. Swimming pools & spa baths are very high risk due to the ideal temperature and water conditions they create which suit waterborne bacterial growth.

Extra care and continuous monitoring is needed to ensure that the facilities stay safe. Further useful information can be found here:


  • The elderly and those with lowered immune systems, have a substantially increased risk of contracting Legionnaires disease.
  • Smokers or those who suffer from an existing chronic disease such as Diabetes or Heart disease have an increased risk.
  • Many other Health & Safety compliances required within the sector, sometimes Legionella compliance is (wrongfully) deemed as the lesser important one.


  • Legislation that protect staff & the public must be complied with by all Sports & Leisure facilities. These being: Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 & Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • Sports & Leisure facilities must adhere to guidance supplied by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as laid out in the document now known as HSG274 Part 2. Previously this document was known as ACOP L8. There is also further guidance for Sports & Leisure facilities (that provide a spa-pool or Jacuzzi facilities) published by the HSE available here (HSG282).
  • All workplaces within the UK come under the Jurisdiction of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety & illness at work. Its mission is to prevent death, injury and ill health in Great Britain’s workplaces. The HSE will inspect workplaces, especially those who have poor Health & Safety measures, operate in Hazardous industries or have had an incident.
  • Employers must report any case of Legionnaires’ that may have been caught at work to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). The duty to do this follows on from a doctor notifying the employer.

Repercussions for Failures

  • Defamation and Bad Press.
  • Risk of death.
  • Huge Fines by the CQC and/or HSE.
  • ‘Special Measures’ enforcement.
  • Long & Expensive Court Cases.

Case Studies

Piperdam Leisure Complex, Dundee

A 60 year-old man and his partner stayed in a lodge March 2008, both fell ill immediately after their stay. The man died within a month, 2 days after it was confirmed he had Legionnaires Disease. His partner had contracted a milder form ‘Pontiac Fever’ and went on to recover. Angus Council immediately launched an investigation and found legionella bacteria in the hot tub and shower head at the lodge where they had stayed. Forfar Sherriff Court imposed a fine of £120,000.

Walton-on-the-Naze Leisure Centre

This Essex gym voluntarily closed after concerns that a customer contracted Legionella from a new shower installation. The site remained closed for more than 2 months whilst a suitable remedy and control scheme was put in place.

Carrickfergus Amphitheatre Wellness Centre

This Northern Irish leisure centre voluntarily closed after it was discovered that the consultant appointed by the Council had no formal qualifications or training in Legionella control. The risk assessments he provided were inadequate and a new qualified contractor identified high risks present on site. Magistrates court fined the council £1500 and the bogus consultant £750 plus costs.


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