Legionella (also known as Legionnaires disease) is a progressive and potentially fatal atypical pneumonia caused by the inhalation of water droplets containing Legionella bacteria. The onset is relatively abrupt with a membrane covering the lungs (pleurisy), high fever, headache, muscle pains, chills, confusion, etc, which can in some cases lead to death.
It is often treated in hospital with antibiotics, oxygen and breathing assistance and can take a few weeks to get back to normal – so it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Legionella bacteria form in hot and cold water systems such as plumbing, shower heads, water storage tanks and cooling towers. An average of 250 cases of Legionnaires disease are reported each year in the UK. It is estimated that about 12% of those who contract it will die. Those who survive may never fully recover.
Legionella cannot be passed from person to person, it can only be contracted through breathing in mist from contaminated water so controlling it at the source is hugely important. Those most at risk are the elderly, smokers, alcoholics or those suffering with cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or kidney disease. This means places like retirement homes, hospitals and hospices are high-risk places and should be carefully monitored regularly.
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations, owners and operators of all commercial premises (including: Social Housing, Facilities Management, Hotels & Stadiums, Healthcare, Education and Others) have a legal responsibility to control the risk of legionella bacteria in water systems. Owners and operators of all commercial properties are required to:
- Identify and assess the sources of risk (see Legionella Risk Assessment for more information)
- Prepare a scheme for preventing or controlling the risk
- Appoint a person to be managerially responsible
- Implement and manage precautions
- Keep records of the precautions implemented
Swiftclean Legionella Compliance Services
Swiftclean offers a range of Legionella control services to help you ensure that your properties remain healthy, safe, legal and compliant, find out more:
Find out now if your building is compliant with the new L8 Approved Code of Practice with the Swiftclean Legionella compliance checker.
In addition, we provide:
- FREE quotation/technical advice – Nationwide – call 0800 243 471
- Works carried out in accordance with the Legionella Control Association (LCA) code of conduct
- Risk Assessments and control schemes carried out to L8, BSRIA and CIBSE guidelines
- All works fully certified and legionella control log books provided
- Fully trained and directly employed staff
- Method Statements and Risk Assessments provided site specific as required
- Training for your own staff following risk assessment
Contact us for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.
Legionella Control Services
As a commercial business, you are obliged to keep on top of legionella testing, particularly in places such as hotels, spas, schools and social housing. Legionella Risk Assessments should be commissioned every two years and possibly more frequently if you are working with high-risk people, modifications to water systems have taken place, there has been a change in the management structure or if there is a suspected outbreak. Bacteria counts can determine if your water system is at risk of contaminating people and in that case, you can take the correct action to treat the legionella.
There are a number of ways you can treat legionella. Hot water above sixty degrees, chlorine and other approved disinfectants are able to kill legionella – we will work with you to find the best solution for keeping legionella at bay. We will help to identify risk factors in your building and what might put people most at risk, identifying a risk level for your business and recommending how to stay on top of your legionella monitoring.
There are a number of things you can do to be on top of legionella control such as keeping pipework short and direct, insulating pipes, using materials that don’t encourage the growth of legionella and preventing any contamination in the tank.
Legionella thrives in stagnant water, so you should regularly check, inspect and clean water tanks. For taps or showers that might not be used regularly, it is important to run these at least once a week to prevent legionella growth. You should also clean and descale taps and showerheads once a quarter to reduce risk.
Our years of experience in dealing with legionella and identifying risk factors in all types of businesses and homes mean we are experts and will work with you to work out a plan for your legionella monitoring – ensuring you are running a safe healthy environment whether you run a gym, swimming pool, hospital or rent out houses. We know you have a responsibility to keep people safe and we will ensure all bases are covered when it comes to your legionella control.
Legionnaires disease can develop in anything between two to ten days with flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, fever, muscle pain, headache and coughing. If you suspect legionnaires and have breathing difficulties it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible as it can cause severe pneumonia and you may need to be on antibiotics for a few weeks. If it is left untreated it can be fatal.
Legionella usually thrives most in public places such as swimming pools, hospitals and offices so it is important for your facilities management to keep on top of legionella prevention. It is quite rare to contract it in your own home, but it does happen. Landlords have a duty to keep on top of legionella prevention and regular checks for the safety of their tenants.
Water should either be under twenty degrees or over sixty degrees to prevent legionella growth. Treatment chemicals are often used in swimming pools and spas and is another effective way of killing legionella. We will suggest the most appropriate way for you to treat it at your business.