Responsible property management includes making sure potential health and safety risks in the premises are reduced, eliminated if possible, and managed in a meticulous and consistent manner. If you’re a landlord, a building manager or an employer, one of the things you should do to maintain a disease-free space is to invest in regular Legionella testing and monitoring for your water lines.
Some of the most common water sources and fixtures in the workplace or commercial spaces have been identified as sources of exposure in previously reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease. The humidifier you’re using in the office, the hot water coming out of the taps, the indoor fountains that add visual appeal to your shop — these and more can be delivering water that’s been contaminated by Legionella bacteria. If building residents and visitors inhale these contaminated water droplets, the bacteria can get into their lungs, causing serious respiratory infection and other complications.
To avoid this unfortunate, costly and legally problematic situation, take time to consider the following urgent questions:
Do I understand the risks?
It’s important to have a good understanding of your water systems and other components that are linked to it. Knowing the state or condition of each part is also crucial.
Aside from being able to identify and assess risk factors in the water lines, you also need to consider the risk level among building users. People who have certain illnesses, a weakened immune system, as well as senior citizens and small children are considered high-risk for Legionella infection.
What can I do to manage these risks?
In many cases, developing and fully implementing an effective water management and maintenance plan for controlling Legionella bacteria is enough to mitigate the potential risks involved. There are also approved codes of practice applicable in your sector that can serve as good reference for the measures you would want to take.
How can I ensure our water system is free from Legionella?
The best and only way to verify effective Legionella bacteria control is by routinely testing the water for bacteria. Many businesses find that using a simple Legionella testing kit (available for a reasonable price) can give them the urgent, accurate information they need to know to identify the next steps to implement. The process is simple: collect the water and store inside the bottle provided in the kit, send the specimen to the lab for testing, and wait for the final results.
Written by +Duncan Hollis, Aquacert