As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, businesses and building owners are reminded to check the maintenance of their premises as they reopen.
The Public Health Team at Torfaen County Borough Council are raising awareness to businesses of an increased risk of Legionella bacteria being present as a result of water systems not being used during the lockdown period.
Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.
The disease can be more serious in men aged over 50, smokers and people with chronic lung disease and weak immune systems. It does not spread from person to person.
People who manage or own buildings are being asked to follow the latest advice from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive to help minimise the risk from legionella as they prepare to reopen following the lockdown period.
It includes flushing through cold water systems with fresh mains water as well as increasing the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C to achieve thermal disinfection of the hot water system. This should be undertaken as part of a thorough risk assessment and may require other works to be done especially if you have had shower systems on your premises and have undertaken work through lockdown.
All water systems need to be considered including those with small water tanks such as the under counter water systems and combination systems.
Water systems at shops, hairdressers, offices, hotels, gyms, sports clubs, golf clubs, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, voluntary-run premises and anywhere that has a water supply and is currently shut you must undertake a risk assessment of your system and implement adequate controls in line with current guidance.
More information is also available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires
Please see the link below to the CIEH guidance document on legionella: lockdown risks and reopening safely.
Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely
CIEH guidance document provides essential advice and information on the steps needed to mitigate the dangers of Legionella. Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely (English)
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Posted on: Friday 3rd July 2020