Legionella Bacteria

Westminster Compliance | 14/06/2019

Legionella Bacteria is the bacteria which is known to cause Legionnaires Disease. This is a severe lung infection and a type of pneumonia which affects people all around the globe and sadly there is approximately a 10% death rate.

Although legionella bacteria is commonly found in soil it is usually the bacteria that is found in water that is most likely to cause the disease. In lakes and streams there is little concern as various natural conditions, including UV light and other bacteria that destroy the legionella, keeping it at safe levels.

In man made water systems where the water is still, warm and not exposed to any light the conditions are very different, so the bacteria can easily amplify. Common places to find legionella bacteria are shower heads, hose pipes, and especially in water storage tanks. Once the contaminated water becomes an aerosol it can easily be breathed into human lungs where it will attack healthy cells.

A risk assessment should be carried out in any commercial premises where there is water stored and/or where shower heads are in regular use. So, hotels, hospitals, gyms, hairdressers and blocks of flats are some of the common places where there is a potential problem. Bespoke water treatment companies are needed in these instances to help assess the risks, decontaminate the water, as required and help to ensure that further legionella bacteria is unable to grow in the future.

Heavy penalties to people’s health and those found responsible can face heavy financial penalties from the HSE, As in the case of Faltec Europe Ltd recently who were heavily fined for failing to manage its water cooling system within its factory.

Further information about legionella can be gained by taking this online training course: http://westminstercompliance.co.uk/e-learning/legionella/ or by contacting us at info@westminstercompliance.co.uk

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