Impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on the risk from legionella bacteria

Importance of health and safety and wellbeing of the staff, visitors and the public has been a focus and priority of many employers and building owners. Even more now, when we all are being affected by the pandemic. When tackling the spread of the virus it is easy to lose focus on our general day to day obligations. As our work patterns, movements and behaviour change, this can have a significant impact on aspects of the safety of our properties, and this includes the risk associated with legionella bacteria. Health and Safety Law continues to apply, and duty holders still maintain a legal obligation to protect those in and around their properties from exposure to legionella bacteria both now and in the future. Legionella bacteria can grow at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C, where a suitable nutrient is available and where turnover of water is low. As businesses increasingly move […]

Understanding Your Legionella Risk Assessment

There is often a misconception that a Legionella Risk Assessment is just looking for the presence of Legionella; as if it’s a tick boxing exercise to state whether it’s there or not. However, a Risk Assessment of this kind is actually exactly what it states: it assesses not just whether Legionella is present, but what the risks are of the bacteria emerging. It’s about making sure your site is safe and recommending actions to reduce the risk from Legionella bacteria. To give you guidance on what’s involved in a Legionella Risk Assessment and how you should use the report, we’ve answered some key questions: What is a Legionella Risk Assessment? During a Legionella Risk Assessment, we’re not looking for Legionella in the system, the assessment is instead designed to identify potential conditions that would encourage Legionella to grow. Then we recommend steps to eliminate or reduce that risk, making sure […]

Suspended sentences for bosses who ignored consultants’ advice over Legionella risk

The recent case of two people who have been sentenced to serve 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after failing to control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria demonstrates how serious this matter is. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently reported that two people have been sentenced after failing to control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria in the cooling tower at their business premises in Spring Hill, Birmingham. Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that between June 2017 and February 2018, Kulwant Singh Chatha and partner Satpaul Kaur Chatha of Isher Hangers actually ignored concerns raised by their own water treatment consultants, and no Legionella risk assessments were in place. An investigation by the HSE found that the cooling tower was not being managed to control the risk from Legionella bacteria. This failure exposed employees of Isher Hangers, as well as members of the public, […]