Combating Legionnaires Disease: Things You Can Do

legionella risk assessmentAs an employer, you’re not only accountable for the future of your business; you’re also held responsible for the health and safety of your employees.

Under the law, you have a responsibility to provide your people with an environment that is safe, conducive to work, and free from any health hazards. One of the most important things you need to pay careful attention to is your company’s hot and cold water systems. The water from your faucet, whirlpool, hot tubs, or swimming pools can be contaminated with Legionella bacteria, which cause Legionnaires’ disease.

All about Legionnaires’ disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection. It is caused by Legionella bacteria, which survive in all kinds of water systems; including faucets, hot tubs, showers, and pools. Legionnaire’s disease is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. While it’s possible to get the disease from home plumbing systems, most Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks have occurred in larger buildings, such as museums, hospitals, hotels, and office blocks. As these places have more complex water systems, the bacteria rapidly grow and multiply.

The initial symptoms of Legionnaires disease include muscle pain, high fever, and chills. Once Legionella bacteria infect the lungs, people may also develop chest pains, persistent cough, and breathing difficulties. It’s important to visit a doctor once you suspect you’ve developed any of the initial symptoms. Possible complications of the disease include kidney failure, respiratory failure, and septic shock.

Preventing the Disease

Whether you’re an employer or a private property owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that all water systems under your control are properly maintained and operated. This is to prevent not just Legionnaires’ disease, but any other type of waterborne diseases and infection.

The best ways to prevent an outbreak of the disease in your workplace is to develop a legionella control risk management plan and to conform to the government’s health and safety regulations. The two most important factors you need to consider to prevent Legionnaires’ disease include temperature and hygiene. Any water system in your workplace should be cooled below 20 degrees Celsius or heated above 60 degrees Celsius. You should also keep them free of any impurities and contamination.

According to reports, hundreds of people in the UK die each year because of Legionella Disease. This is why it’s important to properly maintain and regulate your company’s water systems and to develop an efficient Legionella risk management plan.

About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.