The pandemic has affected the way we work, in some cases irreversibly. And industries with water systems are feeling it more than ever when it comes to Legionella.
As businesses return to normal since the beginning of 2022, we are left asking lots of questions about outdated compliance. Thankfully there are always third parties you can outsource to if workplace compliance isn’t something you do in-house. This means consideration of companies to work with, and cost isn’t always the main factor when deciding on who to work with.
As your site prepares for a return to usual practice, whether you are operating phased business operations or you decide a quick return to normal is what is required, there are critical measures that need to be addressed. The safety of your workforce is paramount in this post-covid world and facility managers might want to consider investing in compliance risk assessments before the full mix of staff returns. For this reason, it is essential that you source a provider who has knowledge of Legionella risk assessment and water sampling, so that you get the right compliance in place as soon as possible.
The focus for every organisation where Legionella can be present should heavily be on minimising exposure to Legionella and maintaining a healthy workplace.
A sometimes overlooked risk from having low occupancy in the building is the increased potential for Legionella bacteria, which thrives and multiples in water systems. As many businesses were closed during the pandemic, and more recently with the directive from the UK government to work from home where possible, is likely to have contributed to the reduction in flow rates of water systems by up to 90%. This increase in latent flow correlates to elevated levels of bacteria which can include Legionella.
Building owners and facility managers should adhere to the HSE recommendations when it comes to regulation compliance
Best practises for managing Legionella risk include:
- Following UK regulations for water system maintenance and treatment;
- Implementing a water management plan where one does not exist
- Scheduled legionella testing periodically
This means that water systems should be tested for legionella and risk assessments and strategies put in place before all staff return to the workplace.
Recently a care home in Rochdale was put on special measures after an inspector raised concerns over legionella and fire safety re-inspection will take place after 6 months and will face closure if they have not made the necessary steps to safeguard employees and residents.
Ensuring that you are taking the right steps to manage your water systems is critical for the health and safety of your employees. By testing for Legionella bacteria regularly, you will safeguard your employees health and be better placed to remedy the situation before it gets out of hand.