Cooling Towers

A cooling tower is a heat reducing system used in air conditioning where water is used to cool the air.  As water is stored in cooling towers, they can be a perfect breeding ground for Legionella and other bacteria to grow.

Relevant sections of the OHSMS


OHS Risk Management

Where/when would these issues be relevant?

This is relevant for the Department's sites where a cooling tower system is installed

What do you need to do?

In Victoria, the owner of the building in which a cooling tower system is installed needs to register each system with the Department of Health and Human Services.

​Location​What do you need to do?

​Register your cooling tower system with the Department of Health and Human Services.

​Regional / Central Office

Check that your Shared Services Provider is registering the cooling tower system with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Request a copy of the completed registration documentation.


  • Develop a Risk Management Plan that includes the following risk factors:

    • stagnant water;

    • nutrient growth, including the presence of algae;

    • poor water quality;

    • deficiencies in the cooling tower, including issues with physical design and condition;

    • location of and public access to a cooling tower of system.

  • Make sure that the planned program of maintenance and microbial testing for the cooling tower is happening as scheduled and is conducted by a qualified contractor.

  • Cooling towers should always be installed and positioned so that people conducting the testing and maintenance can easily and safely access all parts of the cooling tower.

  • Retain all test certificates and maintenance records.

Legislation, guidance and Codes of Practice

Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008

Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009

Building Act No. 126/1993 (Version incorporating amendments as at 1 May 2011)

Health (Legionella) Regulations 2001

Building Regulations 2006

Building (Legionella Risk Management) Regulations 2001

Plumbing (Cooling Towers) Regulations 2008

AS/NZS 3666 Air handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control

Contact us

OHS Advisory Service on ph. 1300 074 715 or email:

Further information

Department of Health and Human Services- Cooling tower systems

Environmental Health

WorkSafe Victoria