- April 1, 2020
- Posted by: Water Hygiene Services
- Category: News, Uncategorized
During the fight against Covid-19 and to keep the public safe the majority of people are now at home, whether that is working from home or simply staying at home. This means there are many buildings up and down the UK which are temporarily closed. These closures place a greater threat of the build-up of Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease. Here are some practical legionella tips.
- Are your staff working from home?
- Are your business premises temporarily closed?
- Do your buildings have fewer people using them?
Practical Legionella tips
Did you know that if you or your team are working from home and buildings where you usually work are temporarily closed it could place unintentional health risks to employees on their return to work?
Risk of Legionella in disused buildings
When a place of work building is not used for a period of time it places an increased workplace health risk.
Concern about legionella in empty or partially occupied buildings?
When a building is unoccupied or there are few people using it because it’s closed the health risks associated with its water systems increase. This is because the growth of legionella and other dangerous waterborne pathogens will build up for a range of reasons.
The water system in the building is likely to stop or be significantly reduced which can cause water stagnation. Stagnated water can be extremely dangerous as it encourages bacteria and biofilm to grow to dangerous levels.
Cold water is likely to warm up and the hot water will cool down to room temperature, which also encourages bacteria to grow in the water.
If your building water systems are allowed to become contaminated in this way there could be serious health consequences for those people still using the building or when staff return to work.
Health & Safety Recommendation
What does the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recommend?
The Health & Safety Executives Technical Guidance HSG274 Part 2 makes specific reference to this situation. It states that “where a building, part of a building or a water system is taken out of use, it should be managed so that microbial growth, including legionella in the water, is appropriately controlled”.
The guidance recognises that all mothballing procedures are a compromise between adequate control of microbial growth, the use of water for flushing and degradation of the system by any disinfectant added.
The HSE guidance highlights that plumbing systems are usually left filled with water for mothballing and not drained down. This is because moisture will remain within the system enabling biofilm to develop where there are pockets of water or high humidity”.
Water in the system also assists in the avoidance of other problems associated with systems drying out, including failure of tank joints and corrosion in metal pipework.
Advice from Water Hygiene Services
Our advice during the necessary closure of workplace buildings is to keep the water monitoring going if possible and if it safe to do so. If you are forced to close down ensure you perform the necessary commissioning works once the building is reopend and it is business as usual.
If you would like to talk to a member of the team about booking in your monitoring for a few months from now please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you would like to discuss Legionella monitoring or how to manage the water safety of a building which is temporarily closed please contact us using the form below. We will be happy to provide a no-obligation quote or advice during this difficult time.