Is There An Increased Risk of Legionella At Your Premises?

Don’t Overlook Legionella Responsibilities

Reopening your business following Covid? As well as satisfying pandemic regulations, don’t forget about the risks of legionella.

If you’re able to throw open your business doors once again following lockdown, it may be tempting to get straight back to trading to make up for lost time. But aside from satisfying the extensive list of industry-specific Covid-19 regulations, there are other health and safety requirements to assess before you rush back to work. Legionella is one of the top risks to any business who closed its premises for a prolonged period of time. Understand why this bacterium poses such a threat and how to carry out a legionella risk assessment.

Why Is Legionella A Threat?

Your premises’ water systems are unlikely to have been top of your priority list when considering how to safely reopen your business doors. With a global pandemic, you may have been more focused on stocking PPE kit to safeguard your employees or positioning social distancing markers around the floor of your shop or offices. But it’s essential that all landlords and business owners assess the condition of their water systems before reoccupying the building once again. When water systems are not used regularly, they are more likely to contain harmful levels of bacteria, including legionella. The presence of this particular bacterium in your water system can cause people to develop Legionnaire’s disease, a respiratory condition which can be fatal.

Who May Be Affected By Legionella?

Anyone who breathes in air, mist or water droplets that have been contaminated with legionella, could develop Legionnaire’s Disease. Much like Covid-19, there are certain groups of people who are more likely to contract the condition. As a respiratory illness, smokers or anyone with existing health conditions such as asthma could be at an increased risk. Similarly, for anyone who has recovered from Covid-19, evidence shows that patients may be more likely to contract secondary infections such as Legionnaire’s Disease for several months post-recovery.  

Understanding Water System Management

To protect all occupants and visitors to your building, it’s essential not to neglect your water systems. Properties which were left unoccupied for just a short period of time should carry out a risk assessment to safeguard future health. Property Week reports that even water systems that were flushed through once a week during lockdown, are returning high numbers of legionella sample failures. This illustrates the significant potential for your building to have a legionella problem.

Taking Steps

The first step to protecting your water systems and anyone who comes into contact with them, is to seek the help of a professional legionella firm to carry out a detailed risk assessment. They will also provide a strategy to control any risks that have been highlighted. It may be necessary to clean or repair your water systems to ensure that they don’t create an environment for this type of bacteria to thrive in.

If you’ve recently reopened, or are planning to in the near future, don’t overlook your legionella responsibilities. Satisfy COSHH Regulations by protecting all occupants of your premises as well as the reputation of your business.