Does Legionella Pose A Problem For Pubs?
As of 17th May 2021, it will be possible to go back inside a pub for a pint in England. Although we’ve been able to drink outside for a few weeks now, this is a major milestone, and it’s one that many people will greet with enthusiasm, not least of which the publicans and landlords. Yet there is something to consider about pubs that you might not have thought of before; legionella. The question is, does legionella pose a problem for pubs? Read on to find out.
Is There A Legionella Problem?
The simple answer is yes, legionella does indeed pose a problem for pubs. With so many members of the public, staff, and contractors visiting pubs all the time, and with a variety of different water systems in place, there is just as much risk of legionella bacteria being present in a pub, and potentially causing harm, as there is in an office building, a school, a hotel, or anywhere else. This is even more true if the pub has rooms, since there will be showers and basins to consider, and if there is a kitchen that provides food, dishwashers, sinks, and spray hoses will be present.
So when you stop to consider the issue, there are many different ways that legionella can be problematic for the responsible person within a pub setting.
In May 2020, a report showed that there were around 48,000 pubs in the UK – although this number is falling, as we know – and each one needs to ensure that its legionella risk assessment and water hygiene controls are in place and up to date if they want to keep everyone safe and follow legislation.
Pub Ownership Makes A Difference
In 1990, almost three-quarters of pubs were owned and operated by the breweries. By 2020, this figure has dropped to around 50 percent, with the other half of pubs being owned and run by individuals or private companies. What difference does this make in terms of legionella control?
The big difference is that, whereas in the past the brewery would have been responsible for the health and safety aspect of the pub, today it could just as easily be the individual pub owner who needs to know about legionella and have specific legionella awareness training. Because more people have to understand and act on legionella legislation but may not be aware of the fact, this could lead to a lot of pubs being potentially dangerous places for the public to be.
What To Do?
If you own and run a pub and you don’t have a current legionella risk assessment, you don’t have regular testing carried out, and you don’t offer your staff legionella awareness training, then you might have a problem on your hands. This is the last thing any pub owner wants, especially after the severe impact 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have had on any profits. A hefty fine or even imprisonment, as well as HSE improvement notices, won’t be on anyone’s must-have wish list.
If you’re concerned about this or want to arrange for the work to be carried out, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Assured Water. We can help with all aspects of legionella control, including risk assessments and training, and we are here when you need us.