Cooling Towers

Schools can now visit the Policy and Advisory Library (PAL) for this information. This page will remain in this location but will be for corporate staff only. School staff should use PAL for all policy, procedures and other operational information.

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 2019

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

Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019

Building (Legionella) Act 2000  

Building Regulations 2018

Building (Legionella Risk Management) Regulations 2001

Plumbing (Cooling Towers) Regulations 2008

AS/NZS 3666 Set: 2011,  Air handling and water systems of buildings Set

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