Is Legionnaires’ disease still a public health risk in care homes?

With many elderly residents suffering from various ailments they are especially vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease.

Landlords and care home owners, have a duty to carry out Legionella risk assessments on their water systems to prevent infiltration of Legionella.

Care homes are often converted from old structures like hotels. Bedrooms are added and the old water system is modified resulting in redundant pipes and live deadlegs.

This puts care homes at a medium- to high-level risk with regards to Legionella vulnerability.

Amersham Health Centre: Legionella bacteria found.

A surgery in 2020 was  vacated into temporary cabins for several months after bacteria that can cause lung problems was found in its water supply.

Amersham Health Centre  moved its services into temporary buildings in its car park after Legionella bacteria was identified in its water system.

Legionella is known to cause the pneumonia-type illness Legionnaires’ disease and a mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever.

It is understood the discovery was made following “routine and precautionary testing” of the centre’s water system.

People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever by inhaling droplets of water in the air containing the bacteria. Less commonly, by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella (when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking).

The centre announced that from Monday (February 14) essential works are underway to deal with the problem and that operations from the temporary buildings are expected to last eight to 12 weeks.

In the UK, all doctors surgeries, medical centres and other healthcare premises are required to have a written scheme together with a legionella risk assessment for controlling identified risks in accordance with the Health & Safety Executives Approved Code of Practice and Guidance document ACOP L8.

Risk Assessment & Tests- Specific Guidance for Dental Surgeries

Legionella testing for dental practices is now even more essential due to recent scientific evidence that has highlighted the potential dangers of Legionella bacteria found in Dental Unit Water Lines (DUWLs). According to HSE’s L8 policy, the employer is responsible for the health and safety of all staff, patients and anyone else entering the practice or surgery. It is therefore vital that regular Legionella checks for dental practices is undertaken. Doing so will ensure the risks of bacteria are mitigated and that the practice will successfully pass any inspection.

 

Legionella and Fire Safe are able to offer expert advice on Legionella testing, risk assessment and control, including compliance with ACOP L8 – the Approved Code of Practice L8 2013 – The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems.

Failure to comply puts people’s health at risk and if an issue did occur, this failure could be used in criminal proceedings as evidence of a company’s negligence.

For more information

0800 080 3045

info@legionellaandfiresafe.co.uk

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