Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria wide spread in nature. When the bacteria enter water systems in the built environment, conditions can often favour and encourage significant growth and reproduction to levels which can cause bacterial pneumonia and be fatal to humans. As a result legionella is considered as a biological hazard and is listed under the COSHH Regulations. This defines the need for a suitable risk assessment to cover water systems in the work place.
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal, bacterial pneumonia infection that is contracted by breathing in water droplets with an incubation period of 2-10 days with an average onset of 3-6 days. The average mortality rate is accepted to be anything between 15 and 20% of people infected.
Organisations, or self-employed individuals, who provide residential accommodation or who are responsible for the water system(s) in their premises, are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in those premises is properly controlled.
The illness occurs more frequently in men than in women at a ratio of around 3:1. Legionnaires disease is very uncommon under the age of 20 and whilst children can catch the disease it is very rare.
The symptoms of Legionnaires disease are similar to the symptoms of a very severe flu. As a result, legionellosis often goes undetected:
Feverishness and chills
Signs of mental confusion
A suitable legionella risk assessment is required to cover water system in any commercial premise. This includes rented housing stock particularly where communal services are present.
Call Lets-Test for a Legionella risk assessment