Monday, 1st June, 2015
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria. It is caused by the bacteria infecting your lungs, and usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. Legionella bacteria are commonly found in natural water systems such as rivers and lakes where their numbers are usually low and therefore they pose little risk. However, it can become a risk when the bacteria contaminates a man-made water system. A water system can provide an ideal environment for legionella to multiply, and therefore it is vital that the requirements of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and COSHH regulations are followed. The HSE guidance can be found here.
Legionella can often present itself in pipework which is not regularly used. Common examples are taps or showers in an office which don’t really get used, or in the case of schools in the summer holidays water can often be left several weeks to stagnate in the pipework system. As good working practice all premises should have a procedure in place which ensures all water systems are regularly monitored, even simple things like running a tap every few days for 5 minutes can make the world of difference and reduce the risk of Legionella contamination substantially.
Regular (usually annual) chlorination of water systems is a further way of reducing the risks associated with Legionella, which is a fundamental part of planned and preventative maintenance for a lot of our clients. It is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can usually be done in under a day, has no effect on day to day operations of the business and can provide peace of mind that your water systems are being kept safe.Back to News