Legionella has hit the headlines again. A hardware store in the UK being fined £1m after two men, one a customer and the other a delivery driver, contracted the disease and died. A total of 21 people were struck down by the outbreak which was caused by infected water droplets from a hot tub display.
In Ireland there are approximately 10 cases per year reported but it is suspected that many cases go unreported as initial symptoms are flu-like. Death occurs in 10-15% of otherwise healthy people who have contracted this disease.
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2010, all employers must prepare a safety statement. This is based on the identification of the hazards and an assessment of the risks to the Safety, Health and Welfare of their employees. Environmental Efficiency can carry out the Legionella risk assessment in accordance with the specific legal requirements necessary. The risk assessment then needs to be repeated when there are changes which may add risks such as changes to the hot water or cold water systems, temperatures or maintenance schedule.
Potential sources of legionella can include taps, shower heads, cooling towers, water sprays or any area where a spray of water may be inhaled. Control of legionella can be achieved if proper precautions are taken to alleviate any potential risks to any of the aforementioned sources.
Environmental Efficiency has carried out many legionella assessments in hospitals, nursing homes, factories and sport centres. For more information on legionella and risk assessments please contact Environmental Efficiency.
The author, Bob Sutcliffe, is a director of Environmental Efficiency, a consultancy that is dedicated to helping clients maintain environmental compliance and embrace best practice. The views expressed are the author’s.