Thursday 23rd June 2022
Silent but deadly, Legionnaires disease is a health risk for businesses to look out for in their building systems as we head into the peak of summer. We take a look at how digital thermometers from Martindale Electric can help target the disease.
Legionella bacteria is found naturally in freshwater environments, such as streams and lakes, and rarely causes illness in people. However, the bacteria have found an agreeable home in our urban environments, thriving in installations such as cooling towers, and air conditioning and industrial cooling systems in larger buildings, such as hotels and hospitals.
If these systems are not properly maintained, small droplets of water containing the bacterium can get into the air where people breathe it in. It can then cause a serious form of pneumonia, called Legionnaires disease. While treatable, Legionnaires can be fatal, with a mortality rate of up to 10% (higher in the immunosuppressed). Therefore, those responsible for building maintenance and estate management should maintain their water HVAC systems properly and effectively to mitigate the risk of infection.
If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, including landlords, you must understand the health risks associated with legionella
Duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) extend to risks from legionella bacteria, which may arise from work activities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) provide a broad framework for controlling health and safety at work. More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions. The Approved Code of Practice: Legionnaires' disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) contains practical guidance on how to manage and control the risks in your system.
As an employer, or a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. You must understand how to:
Whilst most are enjoying the summer months, the warm weather can encourage legionella bacteria which can grow in water temperatures of around 20-45°C.
The symptoms of Legionella’s disease are similar to the flu and can include a high temperature, cough, muscle aches amongst others, and, if not severe, can be treated with a course of antibiotics.