Legionella control is an area that many care home operators find it difficult to manage, yet the elderly and those with underlying health problems are among the most susceptible to contracting legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-like illness, with a potentially fatal outcome.
Legionella bacteria can form in water tanks and pipework, particularly in slightly warmer weather. You might think that in a busy care home water is never motionless due to the high demand, but this just isn’t so. If rooms are unoccupied or bathrooms unused for several days, either in the event of a death or because residents are on holiday or visiting family, there is potential for legionella to develop. We see outbreaks of it in hospitals and care homes all too frequently.
It isn’t only your residents who could suffer. In many cases, it is cleaners who use water for the first time after it has been sitting motionless, and they often bear the brunt of the legionella bacteria; so you could find yourself short-staffed too.
A legionella outbreak could have serious consequences for those in your care, but it means serious trouble for you too. If there’s an illness or fatality due to legionella, you could be liable to prosecution if you cannot prove that you have complied with your responsibilities. Not being aware of them will not be a defence in law. You could face prosecution; even for corporate manslaughter in the event of a fatality. If convicted in a Crown Court, you could be facing a prison sentence and/or a limitless fine, which could run into millions of pounds.
If your business depends on good water hygiene, you can’t afford not to speak to an expert.
All our operators are trained to L8, BSRIA and CIBSE guidelines, which are the recognised industry standards for legionella control. We can guide you through compliance by providing a full risk assessment and any remedial work needed to bring your premises up to standard. We provide on-going legionella control and leave you with comprehensive records to demonstrate that you’ve done all that is expected of you. We help you to comply, and we make sure you can prove that you’ve complied. One day, you may need to.