More than 500 people a year are still affected by legionella bacteria. How can you protect yourself?

Here at Acorn Safety Services, we have recently launched a new legionella service, providing legionella risk assessments to help businesses, charities and public sector organisations to identify and assess the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria from work activities and water systems on their premises and to advise of any precautionary measures needed.

But what is legionella bacteria? And how can you keep your premises safe?

If you are an employer, a facilities manager, health and safety officer, a landlord or even self-employed, it’s time to learn about legionella…

Legionella bacteria: Tiny, but with huge consequences

Legionella is a microscopic, naturally occurring bacteria which can be found in streams, rivers, reservoirs and ponds, usually in very low numbers. But if these tiny bacteria get trapped inside your water system and multiply, it can cause a huge problem, potentially leading to Legionnaires’ Disease.

According to the Government, there were 503 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in the UK in 2019. It’s a serious illness which can be fatal – symptoms to be aware of include fever, headache, cough and shortness of breath.

While legionella bacteria can cause problems anywhere given the right conditions, some areas such as places where water is stored or recirculated, where the water temperature is between 20-45°C or where rust, sludge, scale and organic matters are present, are considered to be at much higher risk.

People who are more susceptible to infection, including the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, are also advised to take extra care.

What can you do to protect yourself against legionella bacteria?

As with so many other health and safety issues, prevention is always better than cure. At Acorn Safety Services we have the skills and expertise to give you complete peace of mind.  

Legionella and Fire Consultant, Adam Midson joined Acorn Safety Services in July and will lead a new team dedicated to carrying out legionella risk assessments and testing.

He said: “I’ve spent many years working in the water industry, in plumbing and remedials and more recently gaining valuable experience carrying out legionella risk assessments.

“I will be helping clients old and new navigate the complex rules around legionella bacteria, helping to carry out risk assessments and the management of water systems.

“I am delighted to have joined the team at Acorn Safety Services at such an exciting time. Acorn has bold ambitions for the future, particularly around its legionella services, and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

What does a legionella risk assessment involve?

A thorough legionella risk assessment, carried out by one of our qualified assessors is your first line of defence against legionella bacteria.

Our assessments will allow us to:

  • Identify potential sources of risk of exposure to the legionella bacteria;
  • Assess the existing measure in places such as service records, cleaning and monitoring regimes;
  • Assess the level of training, awareness and competence regarding the management of legionella;
  • Provide guidance on any remedial actions to reduce any potential exposure.

The survey will look for any fittings which do not comply with the non-Water Regulations Approval Scheme, problems with your cold water tank or hot water cylinder and accessibility to all areas that require monitoring and maintenance by law.

Once the survey is complete, our consultants will advise you on the next steps to take and give you impartial advice about repairs and remedials.

We also offer a free online portal where our clients can store their risk assessment documents safely and securely online ensuring they are fully accessible whenever you need them.

Acorn Safety Services is a fully-independent health and safety consultancy with offices in Northampton, Birmingham and London and clients right across the UK.

For all your health and safety needs visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ today or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

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