The Health & Safety Executive are advising all building owners to check their water systems if the properties have been closed or utilised by fewer staff than normal during the past 12 months.
The easiest check is to perform a legionella test on your hot and cold water supplies. AquaCert have made this task so easy and inexpensive, it is the simplest way to get peace of mind.
If your water has had little or no load during the past year, it will have stagnated and allowed bacteria to multiply. Your water pipework may have had tiny amounts of bacteria previously which were not a risk, if some of these were legionella bacteria they will have increased in numbers and could easily be a real risk to older staff members.
The usual method to reduce legionella concentrations is “flushing” which effectively ejects them down the drain (do it carefully to avoid creating an aerosol). This will decrease their numbers but seldom gets rid of them all.
Increasing hot water temperatures above 60°C for a few hours and running each outlet is another effective way to kill the majority of legionella. Disinfections with biocides does an even better job but will costs £100s or £1,000s depending on the complexity of the water systems.
How do you know if the flushing and disinfections have been successful?
The truth is you don’t!
Legionella tests start at £44.50 + VAT for a small property so the cost of regular testing is insignificant. Most building owners test the furthest outlets initially, then they’ll test any showers (which are a higher risk). Bigger properties will also test separate floors and some random outlets.
By having a testing protocol, it’s easy to get a history of negative tests and with that, you’ll have confidence that your staff and visitors are safe from legionnaires’ disease.
We can help devise a suitable testing regime for your property, the locations to test and the frequency.
Contact the HSE
If you want to check the HSE advice, follow the link below.