Many workplaces are unaware of the potential risks posed by Legionella. It is a bacteria that can grow rapidly given the right conditions. As an employer or someone in charge of a premises, you have a responsibility to comply with the Health & Safety Executives ACoP L8 and HSG 274 parts 1, 2 & 3 which emphasises the monitoring, risk assessment and management of water related systems and the potential for Legionella to develop.
Legionella bacteria causes Legionellosis, a collection of serious diseases that includes Legionnaires’ disease, Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that can affect anyone – there were 84 deaths in England and Wales from 2011 to 2013.
It is therefore vital that consistent and effective monitoring is undertaken to ensure that employees are not exposed to Legionella bacteria and the potential consequences to both the individual and the business.
Any water system, given the right conditions, could be a source for legionella bacteria growth. This is particularly true if your water system:
- has a water temperature between 20–45 °C
- creates and/or spreads breathable droplets, e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
- stores and/or re-circulates water
- has a source of nutrients where the bacteria might grow, i.e. rust or sludge
Additionally there are a number of other potential risk systems that may pose a risk to exposure to legionella. These include things like humidifiers, air washers, emergency showers or indoor ornamental fountains. The list of potential exposure points is considerable.
All systems require a risk assessment, which will show that you have properly assessed the risk and that you are managing the risk of exposure to Legionella. Safety First Group provides a Legionella service for both risk assessment and monitoring. Through extensive monitoring, we are able to:
- Identify potential risk sources
- Propose methods for prevention
- Control, monitor, inspect and maintain water systems
- Ensure compliance with the ACoP and guidance
It is important to keep regular monitoring in place, in case anything changes with your water system, as age can be a determining factor. Failure to actively manage your Legionella risk could lead to employee illness and potential fines or even prosecutions for your business.
To learn more about Legionella Monitoring, please visit https://www.safetyfirstgroup.co.uk/services/legionella-monitoring/ or for more information, please call 0845 004 2133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org