Do you know what legionnaires disease is? Maybe you thought it was a thing of the past. Until now suspected cases of it have been low but there has been a sudden increase in the amount of cases over the last couple of months in the West Midlands and this is thought to be a result of the recent lockdown.
What is legionnaires disease?
Legionnaires disease is potentially fatal lung infection that is caused by legionella bacteria. It can initially present as flu like symptoms and progress into a cough and shortness of breath.
Where is legionella bacteria found?
Legionella bacteria is normally found in fresh water sources such as rivers and lakes, which occasionally makes its way into artificial water systems like the taps and some air conditioning units in work places.
How has the pandemic related to this rise?
If legionella bacteria is present in any water system, this coupled with the water system being unused for many months due to the pandemic can create the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. There is an increased risk of this in businesses with large water supplies such as hotels, hospitals and large office blocks.
Who is responsible to control legionella?
If you are an employer or the person in charge of a premises such as a landlord or self-employed person, you have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella.
What should you do?
For your normal hot and cold water system, you can send samples of water for testing to see if there is legionella present. Other maintenance to consider are flushing the outlets, monitoring water temperature and checking the integrity of the water tanks. At Safetyboss we provide legionella awareness training and water sampling to give you a better understanding of this potentially fatal bacteria.