Legionella Inspections, Legionella Risk Assessments
Legionnaire's Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but which principally affects those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immunosuppression, and smokers amongst others also figure in these groups.
It is caused by the bacterium legionella pneumophila and related bacteria that can be found naturally in environmental water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, usually in low numbers. As they are commonly found in environmental sources they may also be found in purpose built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpool spas.
If the environment is favourable, the bacterium may grow creating conditions in which the risk from legionnaires' disease is increased. It is therefore important to control the risks by introducing measures outlined in the Approved Code of Practice & guidance document Legionnaires' disease - The Control of legionella bacteria in water systems (L8). This can be done through regular Legionella inspections and Legionella risk assessments.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Legionnaires' disease are similar to those of flu:
- high temperature, fever and chills;
- muscle pains;
In a some cases, there may be pneumonia and occasionally, diarrhoea and signs of mental confusion.
Outbreaks of the illness occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose-built systems where the water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage growth, and hot water systems used in all sorts of premises (commercial and domestic).
Most community outbreaks in the UK have been linked to installations such as cooling towers which can spread droplets of water over a wide area. These are found as part of air-conditioning and industrial cooling systems.
Recent research by the Health Protection Agency has suggested that a number of UK Legionella cases can be linked to car windscreen washer, where detergents have not been used in the washer mixture.
What measures are there to control legionella?
To prevent exposure to the legionella bacteria a dutyholder must comply with legislation that requires the management, maintenance and treatment of water systems in premise. This will include, but not be limited to, appropriate water treatment and cleaning regimes.
Legionella can grow in any workplace if the conditions are right - you do not have to work with microbiological agents, eg in a laboratory, for exposure to occur. If you are responsible for any of the water systems described in HSE's Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) and Guidance "Legionnaires' disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems" (L8) you will need to assess the risk of employees and others in the workplace contracting Legionnaires' disease.
Thames Laboratories provides a complete legionella inspection service and Legionella risk assessments using staff fully trained to advise on measures for managing the risk of legionella.Our legionella inspection service provides a full building inspection and will help you control the risk of Legionella.
Click on the links below for more information on our legionella services.
Submit your legionella enquiry here.
Other services include: