HSE guidance for Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently released new guidance for employers, the self-employed and those in control of premises who have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with Legionella during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Government ordering businesses to close or staff to work from home where they can, many buildings around the country have been unoccupied or at a very reduced occupancy since the end of March. A consequence of this is the occurrence of water system stagnation due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease as people now start to return.

HSE are advising those responsible for the safe management of water systems to review their water risk assessment and manage the Legionella risks as water systems are reinstated or put back into use, or where some types of air conditioning units are started up again.

The guidance covers advice for several areas that pose a risk including

  • Hot and cold water systems
  • Cooling towers and evaporative condensers
  • Air conditioning units
  • Commercial spa pools and hot tubs

There is also advice on methods of control, risks to operators when changing these control measures, necessary PPE and where to get specialist help.

View the guidance here.

If you or your Team require water hygiene training as your premises start to open up again, we are recommencing the delivery of our specialist engineering and estates & FM training from 29 June 2020. This includes our comprehensive portfolio of Legionella and associated training for both the healthcare and commercial sectors. Find out more here.

Further guidance available

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has also published comprehensive guidance entitled “Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely”. View it here.

We previously shared details of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases’ (ESCMID) guidance on managing Legionella risks in nursing and care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. See their guidance for hospital water systems here and for building water systems here.