Legionnaires Disease – Which Business Sectors are more at Risk?
In the UK if you are a business owner, or you manage premises for someone else, you are required by law to assess that business or premises to see whether there is a risk of legionella contamination in your water systems… and your starting point for this would be a legionella or Legionnaires risk assessment. However, you might be surprised to learn that some businesses and industries have a greater risk than others when it comes to legionella and Legionnaires’ disease. Are you involved in any of them?
Legionnaires disease and assessment of risk
While your assessment may identify little or no risk of any problems associated with legionella bacteria at your premises, this won’t be the case in every business or industry. If you look through the list of sectors below and you find your business is included in one of these areas, perhaps it would be prudent to check your procedures, to ensure you are meeting the legal requirements placed on you.
Nursing and care homes
Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to many illnesses and diseases. Therefore, if legionella is present and can multiply in the water systems, care homes and their residents may prove to be particularly at risk from the dangers posed by legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease.
Industrial and manufacturing settings
Cooling towers and complex process systems that use water are particularly prevalent in these industries. Furthermore, they can be challenging to maintain and keep safe regarding the prevalence of legionella bacteria. For example, spray emitted from cooling towers can affect many people in the immediate area of the cooling tower, it may also travel on the wind, drifting outside the business and potentially affect those in areas nearby.
Hotels, spas, and other hospitality settings
The more complex a buildings water systems are, the more challenging it will be to manage the risk of legionella growth and contamination. Additionally, spa pools, hot tubs, and similar equipment are known to be at high risk of contamination. There are also likely to be occasions where equipment is used extensively, and other times of the year during periods of lower occupancy when it may rarely be used, leading to further challenges in keeping the water supply clean and safe year-round.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities
From a large hospital to a small dental practice, any healthcare setting will use water for many reasons. They will also have complex water requirements and systems, and will also have patients present who may be at greater risk of infection. For these any many other reasons hospitals and other healthcare facilities tend to pose a higher risk.
All landlords, property owners and property managers have a duty to ensure they assess their properties for the risk of legionella. In many cases, a simple legionella risk assessment will suffice. However, there are cases where buildings may be empty for a time and therefore standing water will create a greater risk of contamination.
The need for a Legionnaires risk assessment
Does your business fall into one of these sectors? While the list is not exhaustive, even if it does not, you need to be aware that you have a legal duty to ensure it is safe from potential legionella growth and the dangers that can come from Legionnaires’ disease.
Further information, advice and support
If you require further information or advice about the control of legionella in your workplace please call us today on 0161 877 0586 or contact us here >>