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Case of Legionnaires’ highlights importance of compliance

November 24, 2015

Legionnaires’ disease (Legionellosis) is transmitted by the inhalation of water droplets contaminated with the Legionella bacteria.

It is an atypical pneumonia which thrives at water temperatures ranging from 25 to 45°C – the optimum being 35°C.

Common sources which provide the bacteria with the ideal temperature include water storage tanks, cooling towers and evaporative condensers. Symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, confusion and even death.

Our environmental services division was established in 2005, and we are proud to be an industry leading provider of high quality services in the field of water quality management and Legionella control. We are disappointed that cases of the disease still occur as a result of non-compliance by those responsible for ensuring correct checks are in place.

Following the latest publicised case of Legionnaires’ disease in Bournemouth, Environmental Health officers have acted quickly to identify the premises responsible and have taken appropriate measures. 74-year-old Peter Apps from Kent became critically ill days after returning from a visit to Bournemouth and subsequently fell into organ failure, forcing doctors to put him into a medically induced coma until he could be stabilised.

The Local Authority has confirmed that tests have been carried out on samples from a hotel in the area, which has closed its doors to the public until the results of the investigation have been released.

For any organisations who are concerned as to whether they have all the required measures in place to prevent a similarly tragic incident on their premises, we would urge you to undertake a thorough review of your Legionella monitoring & management protocols, and of your current risk assessment, to ensure that all records are up-to-date. The onus is on employers and those in charge of premises to take the correct precautions to reduce the risk of legionella exposure.

For further guidance related to this topic, please contact the Health & Safety Executive, or call Churchill Helppoint on 0845 345 1576, who will direct you to a member of our Environmental Services team for some free support and advice.