Both landlords and business owners are responsible for the control of Legionnaires disease in their business premises and that can make a lot of difference. Whether you are the owner of a property, or managing a building, a test for legionella bacteria is recommended.
The Legionella bacteria can spread if the right conditions are present and all of your occupants are susceptible to the risks, particularly those that have weak immunity like the sick and the elderly. Symptoms can be dangerous and may be even fatal. Following legal requirements and being responsible for health and safety issues when it comes to owning a property is always the best choice.
A legionella risk assessment is not something that you are able to carry out yourself, however testing the water for presence of the bacteria is quite straightforward and inexpensive. It is not a legal requirement to test, however it is considered good practice and is recommended every six months to ensure both your occupants and you are protected from the negative outcome that can come from legionella-infected water. Testing the water regularly also provides peace of mind that your control regime is effective.
Legionella Inspections and Reducing Risk
Although the bacteria can spread if it is present in certain conditions, it can be caught early and further risks prevented. The legionella bacteria can cause legionnaires disease, a serious lung disorder that is easily picked up in the mist created by water systems if the bacteria is present. Through breathing the bacteria in, the following symptoms may be present:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• A cough with mucus, sometimes containing blood
• Mental changes such as confusion
The bacteria, which is found in natural waters can be present in our water systems and warm conditions are ideal for legionella as temperatures between 20°C and 45°C provide the optimum growth range.
The risk must be assessed and controlled in a proper manner. Those managing or owning properties with occupants present are legally responsible to manage the risk. This can be done through planning – risk assessments, testing and further advice is always available from reputable and compliant water testing companies.
How Can We Help With Legionella Testing?
At any location there can be a risk of legionella, especially in businesses using water towers or heating or cooling systems. There can be low, medium or high risks regarding the bacteria, all of which can be prevented. Should legionella be present in a water system, treatment is essential.
We offer professional advice relating to the evidence collected should the bacteria be present and, when it comes to handling and preventing further risk our team are here to support you. We will provide appropriate recommendations in order to remove current bacteria and prevent further risks associated with legionella.
What Are Legionella Testing Kits?
We offer specialist kits that can be used by you to test the water in a variety of properties :
• Rental Properties
• School Locations including Nurseries
• Village Halls
• Dental and Doctor’s Surgeries
• Drinking Water Units
• Shower Areas
• Sports & Leisure
• Care Homes
The legionella testing kits and water testing kits are then couriered to our UKAS accredited laboratory and the results returned to you with a Certificate of Analysis. We will remind you when your next test should be carried out.
Should there be legionella present then we will fully support you through professional advice on how to treat the bacteria and prevent further issues.
How to Collect Water Samples
When collecting samples from taps in properties where Legionella had been recently found, it’s important that they are run very slowly. By doing this you are protecting yourself – run the taps to powerfully and you risk creating a water mist. If the bacteria is present, you could be inhaling it.
More details of our great tips can be found on our water testing guidelines , which gives more tips on high pressure water testing, pre-flush and post-flush sample collection, using water testing kits and taking swab samples and more.
Author: Duncan Hollis