What is Legionella?
The Legionella Bacteria is known to cause Legionellosis diseases. Diseases such as: Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever and the most serious of the trio which is often fatal, Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia to which no one is immune.
Legionella Risk Assessments
The risk of Legionnaires’ disease increases with age but also there are a number of people who are at risk regardless of age, you are more at risk of Legionnaires’ if:
- You are over 45
- Smoke or consume excessive amounts of alcohol
- Suffer from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
- Have diabetes, lung or heart disease
- Have an impaired immune system
Where does Legionella come from?
Legionella is common in most natural water sources like rivers and ponds and in purpose built water systems like: hot and cold water systems in homes and commercial premises, spa pools and showers, cooling towers and evaporative condensers. Legionella bacteria thrives and grows in water at 20-45 °C. Other conditions increase the risk of Legionnaires’ disease:
- if breathable water droplets are created and dispersed e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
- water is stored and/or re-circulated
- there are deposits that can support bacterial growth providing a source of nutrients for the organism e.g. rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and bio-films
What are Legionella Risk Assessments?
A Legionella Risk Assessment is the first step in ensuring your premises are Legionella Risk Free. As indicated by the name this is an assessment to gauge the risk of Legionella contaminated water systems. The Legionella Risk Assessments are carried out by competent, fully trained assessors, accredited to UKAS 17020 for Legionella Risk Assessments, who fully understand the water systems in your premises.
The Legionella Risk Assessments determine if the water system is a high risk. A particularly high-risk environment is one where airborne water droplets are present these include: Showers, wet humidifiers, Jacuzzi’s, vehicle wash systems and cooling towers. All commercial and public premises require a Legionella Risk Assessment but not all environments will need control measure implemented. The Legionella Risk Assessment will consist of:
- an onsite survey to inspect and evaluate the water system
- identify the level of risk
- evaluate the type of risk
- prioritise the actions and control measures required
- production of a schematic of all water systems
Once a risk assessment has been completed there maybe remedial works required, these can also be arranged and can include: dead leg removal, tank cleaning and disinfection, thermostatic mixing valve service and testing as well as regular temperature monitoring if required.
Do I need a Legionella Risk Assessment?
If you are the duty holder or the responsible person for a commercial or public building then you have a legal requirement to ensure the people visiting the premises remain safe at all times. Pursuant to the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.
For more information regarding Legionella and your responsibilities details can be found through the HSE website. If you would like to book a Legionella Risk Assessment please call 0330 6600264 or email [email protected]