Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by the Legionella bacteria. The most serious being Legionnaires disease. Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. The risk increases with age but some people are at higher risk including:
○ Smokers and heavy drinkers
○ People over 45 years of age
○ People suffering from chronic respiratory or lung and heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes or anyone with an impaired immune system.
If conditions are favourable, the bacteria may grow increasing the risks of legionnaires disease. It is important to control the risks by introducing measures outlined in Legionnaires disease – The Control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L8).
✺ Identify and assess sources of risk
✺ Manage the risk
✺ Prevent or control the risk
✺ Keep records
If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, including landlords, you must understand the health risks associated with Legionella and why you must carry out a Legionella risk assessment. Duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 extend to risks from Legionella bacteria, which may arise from work activities.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations provide a broad framework for controlling health and safety at work and more specifically the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of duties designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions.
You can catch Legionnaires disease if you breathe in tiny droplets (aerosol) of water containing bacteria that causes the infection.
It's often caught in places like hospitals, hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria has got into the water supply.
- Showers, taps and toilets
- Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
- Hot/cold water tanks and heaters
- Spa pools and hot tubs
- Air conditioning systems