Of the 58 recognised Legionella species, 25 are known to be harmful to us and one species has been linked to the cause of most outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella pneumophila species serogroup 1, 3, 4 and 6 have been linked to disease in humans, with L.pneumophila serogroup 1 being the most serious and found to cause most infections, claiming a fatality rate of around 10%. The most vulnerable groups of people are those who have suppressed immune systems, the elderly and those with long-term respiratory illnesses.
Legionella organisms are widespread in natural water sources and have been found in rivers, lakes, mud and soil. However, Legionella can also colonise in man-made hot and cold-water systems such as storage tanks, calorifiers, air conditioning systems and cooling towers. Ideal conditions for bacteria to live and multiply are temperatures of 20 – 45°C.
How can Legionella affect your business?
People are at risk of contracting Legionnaires disease where the growth of legionella bacteria in a water system reaches a high level. Along with potentially fatal consequences, a Legionella outbreak can have serious legal and financial implications for an organisation.
Following a positive test result for legionella bacteria, organisations have a duty to protect the health and safety of people in their care and on their premises, and then notify the relevant bodies (if required).
Legionella and Legionnaires disease can occur in many environments, both built and naturally occurring. However, there are some sectors that may be more at risk when it comes to this potentially fatal disease.
- Nursing and care homes
- Hospitality industry – hotels, spas, restaurants etc
- Public sector – hospitals, schools, universities, leisure centres etc
- Industrial and manufacturing
- Property management
Building and business owners are responsible for their work premises under Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (sections 2, 3, 4 & 6), Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (Regulations 6,7,8,9 &12) and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to protect the health and safety of not only their employees but for all those who are at risk including members of public.
You have a legal duty of care to ensure your business, properties and buildings are safe from potential legionella growth and the dangers of legionella. The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) L8 is a guideline document for the prevention and control of legionellosis in water systems and has a special legal status by which the employer can be prosecuted, fined, or even imprisoned, if it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Code.
Every year we carry out hundreds of Legionella risk assessments across all sectors. Our consultants have a wealth of experience conducting Legionella risk assessments, risk assessment reviews and management reviews across all industry sectors. Assessments are conducted in line with Legionnaires’ disease the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8), Approved Code of Practice and guidance on regulations, as well as the technical guidelines set in the HSG 274 documents parts 1,2 and 3.
Robert Oxlade, Mechanical Engineer at Cranfield University said, “I would thoroughly recommend Total Environmental Compliance. Their detailed level of reporting and communication is outstanding. I now know what is being undertaken, when it will be achieved, and the results are communicated in a timely manner. The team are professional, experienced and dedicated to the task of minimising Legionella risk. Given the size of the campus and the complexity of the services, they have performed admirably.”
Get in touch with us today to speak to one of our Legionella Risk Assessors on 0151 2579302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.