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Assessing the Risk of Legionella as Businesses Shut for Covid-19


As it has been said many times, we are in unprecedented times! The focus of all businesses at the present time is naturally ensuring that their employees, customers and suppliers are safe and minimising the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Everyone at this stage is aware of the virus, what it does, and what everyone needs to do to help slow its spread, but what about after it is all over? What will its effect have been when shops, restaurants, schools and sports centres reopen after a long period of dormancy.

Shutting down Water Systems

Many businesses are now operating as “cold premises”. This means that the hot water systems have been shut down in order to save power and costs given that the time period for closures remaining in force are unknown but likely to be months rather than weeks.

This has the potential for increased health and safety risks as business reopen and water systems are turned back on.

The Potential for Legionella Growth

The bacteria Legionella lives in cold and hot water systems. All companies who have hot water systems must have a procedure and risk assessment in place identifying where there is a potential for legionella growth and how they will mitigate it.

This affects a range of businesses from hairdressers to leisure centres. However, with the majority of such businesses closed at this time and with staff unable to do the weekly purge of hot water outlets to mitigate against the risk of Legionella their systems will be more at risk of contamination.

The Importance of Risk Assessments and Cold Start Procedures

Where water systems are turned off, the business should review and update their risk assessments and procedures to take into account the changes to current operations. A cold start procedure should also be considered so that suitable steps are taken once the closure enforcements are lifted and the hot water is to be turned back on.

Help with Risk Assessment and Legionella Procedures

If you would value some assistance or advice on managing the risk of Legionella at this time, the team at Sureteam can help. Please feel free to contact us for an informal chat on 01666 503686 or use our contact form.