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  • Lisamarie Lamb

5 Tips Regarding Legionella Contol

Managing the hazards of legionella bacteria can feel overwhelming if you are a duty holder, which includes employers and people in control of buildings (for example, landlords). As the professionals at Assured Water deal with businesses of all sizes to provide guidance on mitigating legionella risk, we thought we'd pass along some of our best ways to control legionella so you can stay up-to-date and confident. 

Know Where Legionella Can Pose A Risk

The legionella bacterium is often found in rivers, lakes, and other natural sources of water. When it grows in a building's water system, though, it can cause legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia that can be fatal.

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that your workplace or property may have a risk of legionella if it has a cooling tower or evaporative condenser, a dry/wet cooling system (also called a hybrid or adiabatic cooler), a hot and cold water system, a spa pool, or a hot/cold water system. The HSE also points out humidifiers, air washers, emergency showers, eye wash sprays, indoor ornamental fountains, water tunnel washers, and other systems that could pose a risk.

Always remember that any water system, and any part of that system, can pose a legionella risk if the right conditions are present. And controlling the risk of legionella depends on a number of things, such as how well the system is designed, maintained, and inspected, as well as how often the water is tested and cleaned or flushed. A full risk assessment must be done to figure out what needs to be done.

Know What Conditions Lead To Legionella Risk

Legionella grows in warm, stagnant water. Your building's water system or water-based facilities pose a risk if water is stored and/or recirculated as part of the system, the water temperature is between 20°C and 45°C in any part of the system, nutrients like sediment or algae are present, and water droplets (aerosols) can be made and released into the environment. If anyone who works, stays, or visits your building is at a higher risk of getting legionella, this is another risk factor.

If a water system or water-based facility is not properly managed or maintained and the above conditions are met, legionella has the chance to grow, spread, and cause infections.

Know How Legionella Spreads

Legionella is a bacteria that spreads through water. People get ill when they breathe in tiny droplets of water that are contaminated with the bacteria. Then, it can get into the lungs and cause legionnaires' disease. Legionella doesn't spread from person to person, and when it does, it's usually because everyone who got ill used the same water system or came in contact with it.

Know Who Is At Risk

Legionnaires' disease is dangerous because anyone can get it. Some people, like those over the age of 45, smokers, and heavy drinkers, as well as those with chronic lung or kidney disease, diabetes, lung or heart disease, or a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk, however. Legionella can also cause Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever, which are similar but less serious illnesses that can happen to anyone.

Know The Law

When it comes to legionella risk, it's important to know what your legal responsibilities are. For example, a number of health and safety laws say how to get rid of legionella bacteria in water systems. The HSE's Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) tells you what your legal responsibilities are. It says: “These include identifying and assessing sources of risk, preparing a scheme to prevent or control risk, implementing, managing and monitoring precautions, keeping records of precautions and appointing a manager to be responsible for others.”

If you need to know more, or you want help with your legionella control, please don't hesitate to contact Assured Water - we're experts in legionella management and we can help you.

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