Reopening after lockdown

Testing for Legionella is critical as businesses reopen with lockdown easing

As more businesses reopen following the easing of lockdown restrictions, firms are being urged to have their water systems checked because of an increased risk of Legionella.

Environmental health teams up and down the country have issued the plea because the risk of the bacteria being present in water systems is higher as a result of disuse during the coronavirus lockdown.

What is Legionella and why is it so dangerous?

Legionnaires disease is a serious lung infection caused by inhaling the Legionella bacteria in droplets of water.

The presence of Legionella bacteria in man-made water systems or air conditioning units can lead to serious illness. Legionnaires disease can be potentially life-threatening. Around 250 outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in the UK every year. The risk of a higher than normal number of cases may be higher this year.

Who should get their water systems checked for Legionella?

Legionella bacteria can grow in hot or cold water systems. The bacteria can grow to harmful levels in pipes, tanks, cylinders and taps when water is not regularly flushed through them.

All landlords have a legislative requirement to assess and manage the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria.

If premises have been vacant for long periods during the pandemic, consideration should be given to flushing or draining the water system to minimise the chances of harmful bugs growing in stagnant water.

As pubs, hotels, clubs, shops, offices, hairdressers and restaurants continue to reopen, water systems should be tested and reviewed to ensure the safety of staff, customers and visitors.

Holiday premises, health clubs and spas should also consider how to safely bring pools back into operation in light of the increased risk of legionella outbreaks.

Indeed, any premises that have been shut with a water supply should give urgent consideration to the increased risk of Legionella.

Anyone who owns or manages a building should follow the latest Legionella advice from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive as part of their plans to reopen safely.

Contact us today to find out how our team of experts can help you manage the risks associated with Legionella.


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