Legionella can do more than make people sick, it can ruin the reputation of the building

Legionella can do more than make people sick, it can ruin the reputation of the building

DATE:
23/11/2016

Not many employers are aware of recent changes in legislation that requires most businesses to perform regular Legionella Risk Assessments.

Legionella is a group of bacteria that, if inhaled (via minute droplets of water) can cause Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal. Everyone is at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease however people aged over 45, smokers and those with a chronic lung disease or weak immune systems are more at risk.

So far this year, over 330 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported across England and Wales.

As an employer or commercial landlord (duty holder) you must understand the risks associated with Legionella and how to manage them. If you have five or more employees; you have to record any significant findings, including those identified as being particularly at risk and the steps taken to prevent or control risks. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines or even imprisonment.

Low levels of Legionella bacteria are naturally present within water however a health risk arises when the concentration of Legionella bacteria reaches above safe thresholds. The ACOP L8 Legionella Risk Assessment has been put in place to help increase awareness of Legionella within water systems.

There may be a risk of exposure to Legionella if your premises have one of the following:

  • Air conditioning units
  • Hot water storage units
  • Aerosol producing outlet
  • External water features
  • Cooling tower systems
  • Swimming pools, Jacuzzis & hot tubs
  • Showers
  • Infrequently used outlets

Comfort Services Group has put together a handy guide for employers and landlords to assist them with the Legionella responsibilities.

Colin Ellingham, Legionella Expert at Comfort Services Group said: “The more businesses we spoke to, the more we realised how many employers were not even aware of this legislation, let alone abiding by it. We have put together this guide to help employers meet their legal responsibilities, it includes suggestions of how to identify, prevent and control the risk.”

Legionella can do more than make people sick, it can ruin the reputation of the building where an outbreak has occurred which can have huge implications on your business and reputation. Many buildings that are open to the public such as hotels, swimming pools, care homes and dentists risk losing their customers if an unmanaged risk is discovered.

The team at Comfort Services Group Limited are experts in Legionella Risk Assessment and testing. If you’re unsure if you’re responsible for completing and documenting Legionella testing or are unsure which of your systems require a Legionella Risk Assessment, then get in touch with us today and they will be happy to provide you with the advice and recommendations you need to ensure you meet your legal obligation for Legionella Risk Assessments. Call Comfort today on 01206 247010.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR GUIDE TO MANAGING THE RISK OF LEGIONELLA

Legionella Outbreak and Risks During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Legionella Outbreak and Risks During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Health and Saftey Executive (HSE) released a bulletin announcing that a Legionella outbreak occurred in the Midlands this past month, during the COVID-19 lockdown. According to the BBC and Public Health England, six people ended up in a hospital in West Bromwich, with what is suspected to be Legionnaires’ disease. The source of the outbreak is still being investigated.

The HSE has reminded employers, the self-employed, facility managers and landlords that it is their duty to identify and control risks associated with Legionella and provided guidance on how to prevent an outbreak. Some of this guidance includes reviewing your risk assessment and running your systems before occupants re-enter a building. Most importantly, you should work with a trusted professional as soon as possible, to ensure you have taken the proper precautionary steps to prevent an outbreak in your building. 

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Deadly bug victim was 2 HOURS from dying after contracting Legionnaires' disease at Lifestyles leisure centre - Daily Gazette
Deadly bug victim was 2 HOURS from dying after contracting Legionnaires' disease at Lifestyles leisure centre - Daily Gazette

Today our local paper has reported a distressing story of a pensioner and former soldier that contracted the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ Disease from a local leisure centre. It is also reported that the leisure centre was closed for nearly 3 months while tests and decontamination work was carried out.

How could this affect you?

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Legionella in schools
Legionella in schools

Comfort Services Group Limited has created a web page dedicated to raising awareness of the potentially harmful threat of Legionella in Schools, Colleges and Universities.

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