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.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which is found in sources of water and often, air and water systems in buildings that are not managed safely. Symptoms are flu-like, including respiratory complications, fever and aches and an infected person needs to be treated immediately, as the disease can be fatal.
The Legionella Control Association, warns that the COVID-19 lockdown may have exacerbated the chances of Legionella outbreaks in buildings that have been unoccupied and unused, as the bacteria most commonly grows when stagnation occurs.
The NHS adds that larger commercial buildings allow for a quicker spread of the bacteria, due to their complex water systems. 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 steps to prevent an outbreak in your building.
At Comfort Services Group, our engineers strive to provide you with help and advice to ensure you’re getting the most from your water systems and meeting your legal obligations. If you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your systems, but are unsure if you require a Legionella Risk Assessment or are unsure of your legal obligations, we can help identify the systems that require risk assessments and will offer helpful recommendations on how to ensure you have minimised Legionella bacteria risk.
If you’re ready to have your systems checked for Legionella today, contact us now. We look forward to hearing from you.