The authorised officer has a legislated role with powers to investigate systems and enforce compliance with Public Health Regulation 2022.
Authorised officers have roles in both the routine management of cooling water systems, and in investigating outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.
Authorised officers are typically environmental health officers. They are employed by local government authorities or NSW Health.
Authorised officers carry out regulatory oversight functions and ensure that occupiers, duly qualified persons (DQPs), competent persons and independent auditors comply with the Regulation.
Authorised officers have powers under the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2022 to:
Authorised officers can require occupiers to provide the following documents:
Authorised officers can require occupiers to provide the following information:
Documents should either be:
An improvement notice requires the occupier to comply with a specified enforceable requirement within a period of 72 hours (or a longer period if specified in the notice).
An authorised officer may serve an improvement notice if the officer believes, on reasonable grounds, that the cooling water system does not comply with a prescribed installation, maintenance or operating requirement.
A prohibition order requires that the cooling water system is not operated until the occupier has been given a clearance certificate.
An authorised officer may serve a prohibition order to the occupier if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that:
A penalty notice is a fixed financial penalty for an offence prescribed by the Regulation. A penalty notice can be issued as a ticket on the spot, or sent by email or post, and contains information about the alleged offence and fine amount.
The Regulation allows authorised officers to serve penalty infringement notices when:
Authorised officers from local government authorities and public health units support the outbreak investigation by carrying out an environmental investigation, using their powers to investigate cooling water systems, and enforcing compliance with the Regulation (see full list of powers above).
The environmental investigation aims to locate possible sources of aerosols containing Legionella (such as cooling towers) in the area where the Legionnaires’ disease cases were potentially exposed.
The NSW Guidelines for Legionella Control in Cooling Water Systems explain the new requirements in detail.
This series of factsheets on Legionella control in Cooling Water Systems provides key information for each stakeholder.
NSW Health has developed the Legionella Control in Cooling Water Systems training program together with TAFE NSW. Authorised officers are encouraged to complete this training.