Is your business at risk from legionella bacteria?

With the number of confirmed and suspected cases of Legionnaire’s disease now standing at eighty-two, this latest outbreak should act as a warning to businesses that use water systems in their line of business.

Two companies in Edinburgh have now been served with Improvement Notices following inspections of water cooling towers and will have to undertake remedial work in order to comply with the regulations governing the cleaning, maintenance and biocide programmes of water cooling towers.

It not just water cooling towers that are at risk of harbouring the legionella bacteria, however. Water that is kept at a temperature between twenty and forty-five degrees centigrade, contains a possible food source for the bacteria, stores or re-circulates water or creates and releases breathable water droplets presents an increased risk of legionella which must be managed.

Employers or managers of such premises have a duty to carry out regular risk assessments of their installations in order to ensure that any risk is effectively managed. Such assessments allow employers to comply with the law and protect them from possible action on the part of the Health and Safety Executive as well as protecting the health and lives of employees and the general public.