Patients and service users of healthcare establishments such as care homes, hospitals, dental surgeries, health centres and other residential care facilities can be particularly vulnerable to air and water borne diseases.
Legionella, a potentially fatal atypical pneumonia, can form in hot and cold water systems (including plumbing, shower heads and water storage tanks) and is contracted through the inhalation of contaminated microscopic water particles.
Many germs and bacteria can also be distributed around a healthcare facility in ducting systems which, very often, are out of sight and therefore sometimes overlooked for essential maintenance and cleaning.
Stringent, effective and regular cleaning to industry guidelines can also help to prevent fires spreading.
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Your legal responsibilities
Water storage tanks in healthcare establishments that are not regularly inspected and cleaned as necessary in compliance with L8, BSRIA and CIBSE guidelines are a potential breeding ground for legionella and failure to do all you can to control legionella can, in the event of a death from Legionnaires disease, result in prosecution of organisations for corporate manslaughter and managers responsible for health and safety management. Find out more about Legionella Compliance and Legionella Control.
With patients and surgery staff regularly exposed to water from aerosols used during treatment, failure to ensure that dental unit water lines (DUWL) are clean can increase the risk of spreading infection to patients and dental workers and may be a breach of Health & Safety guidelines. Find out more about Dentist Water Hygiene.
Ductwork that forms part of a building’s extract system can also be a route for bacteria to transfer throughout a building, so keeping it clean is very important. These systems must be cleaned regularly to ensure efficient extraction minimises the risk of spreading bacteria and toxic mould. Find out more about Ventilation Hygiene and Duct Cleaning.
To prevent fire, kitchen extract ductwork must be cleaned efficiently and effectively at regular intervals, in compliance with the new BESA specification TR19® Grease. Kitchen extract systems in heavy use (12-16 hours a day) should be cleaned at least quarterly, moderate use (6-12 hours a day) should be cleaned half-yearly, light use (2-6 hours a day) should be cleaned at least once a year. Find out more about Kitchen Extract Compliance and Kitchen Extract Cleaning for fire safety.
Another very important passive fire prevention measure is the regular testing, cleaning and maintenance of fire dampers. These are metal louvres which can open and close and are installed across the ductwork to form a temporary barrier when closed but allow the free flow of air when open. You may not even be aware that your ventilation system has fire dampers, but they fulfil a very important function, so you must be sure that they are in working order.
In the event of a fire travelling through ductwork, the fire damper must close, to restrict the oxygen supply to the fire and create a barrier which slows the spread of the fire. This buys valuable time in which to safely evacuate patients, staff and visitors, especially the more vulnerable and less mobile.
There are different types of fire damper; some are spring operated, some have fuseable links and there are other designs which are remotely operated. All types must be regularly tested, using a method known as drop testing, cleaned and maintained. According to recently updated guidance, BS9999:2017, all fire dampers must now be tested at no more than twelve month intervals.
We can help you locate your fire dampers, create access to inaccessible fire dampers then drop test, clean and maintain them for compliance. More information can be found on our fire dampers page.
Laundry extract systems should form part of the building manager’s fire risk assessment and are covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This advises that laundry extract systems should be regularly inspected and the ductwork cleaned in order to prevent fires. Failure to do so may be construed as negligence and may also compromise your insurance cover, as well as impacting your workers’ health and putting them at increased risk from fire.
Swiftclean services for the Healthcare Sector
- Legionella Control and Water Tank Cleaning in accordance with the Legionella Control Association (LCA) code of conduct and L8 standards, with certification to prove that the correct procedures have been carried out, to give you full compliance and provide protection from prosecution in the event of an outbreak.
- Dental Water Hygiene water line testing, certification and cleaning services.
- Kitchen Extract Cleaning for fire safety to TR19® Grease and Ventilation Duct Cleaning to TR/19 requirements to provide compliance with all Fire, Health & Safety and Workplace regulations.