As businesses trickle back into the workplace, there are countless checks to be considered in order to ensure safety for staff.
Environmental hygiene and social distancing are sure to be top of the agenda but something which may have gone under the radar is the risk of Legionnaires disease.
There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens such as Legionella bacteria being present as a consequence of the conditions that lockdown may have created.
Legionella bacteria is naturally present in water systems and causes Legionnaires’ disease – a form of severe pneumonia which is fatal in 10 per cent of cases.
Ideally, businesses will have assessed their Legionella risk early on during lockdown.
If not, now is the time.
As the variety of potential situations relating to different water systems is vast, it is best to seek some professional guidance.
Top tips to help prepare include:
- Flushing through simple hot/cold water systems with fresh mains water for several minutes
- Increasing the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C if possible and drawing it through to all hot water outlets (a temperature over 60°C will kill Legionella bacteria over time)
- Flushing through larger hot/cold water systems (including those with tanks, showers, calorifiers etc.) for a significant period of time
- Ensuring that the system is capable of delivering water at safe temperatures by checking temperatures ahead of reopening
- Undertaking a chemical or thermal disinfection of the water system