The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) have called for businesses to be ‘extra vigilant’ about legionella.
The after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could have implications and carry risks long after lockdown has ended, so the pressure really is on for many businesses, particularly the hospitality sector, to ensure their water systems are free from the risk of Legionella.
A study conducted in 2021 showed:
- An increase in the numbers of samples testing positive for legionella post lockdown. Surprisingly even in systems where Legionella colonisation wasn’t detectable before the pandemic hit in 2020
- ⅔ of the samples taken from specific systems were positive for legionella as a result of post lockdown sampling.
- Sites with previous historic positive results also showed increases in positive results after lockdown in 2021
- Those premises deemed ‘under control’ prior to the pandemic were found to have commonly detected bacteria in post lockdown samples
These findings indicate the severity of the conditions that some businesses are left in post Coronavirus lockdown. And, if risk assessments are left until they had previously been diarised to do so, the harmful effects of Legionella could be affecting customers unnecessarily.
Much more focus is needed in 2022 to ensure that the after effects of dormant water systems is made a priority and ensuring the well-being of both employees and the general public.
Legionella risk assessment and monitoring
Legionella bacteria causes Legionellosis and Legionnaires disease. These diseases are potentially fatal forms of pneumonia and other conditions that can affect anyone. It is for this reason that risk assessments, water sampling and monitoring should be performed every 3 months.
Consistent and effective monitoring is vital to ensure that employees are not exposed to Legionella bacteria and subsequently the potential consequences to both the individual and the business.