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Assessing the Risk of Legionella as Businesses Re-open


The past year has been one of stops and starts as the various lockdown restrictions have been eased or increased. As we emerge out of our third and hopefully final lockdown, many businesses are beginning to plan to return to their office workspaces and with this comes the need for various risk assessments. One of these is the Risk of Legionella within the cold and hot water systems.

Water Systems Shut Down for a Year

Many businesses have been operating as “cold premises”. This means that the hot water systems have been shut down in order to save power and costs whilst the office spaces are closed and not in use.

As businesses reopen and water systems are turned back on there is the potential for increased health and safety risks.

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 and offices to leisure centres.  With many businesses’ premises having been closed for the past 2 months and others for nearly a year, staff have been unable to do the weekly purge of hot water outlets which helps mitigate against the risk of Legionella.

The Importance of Risk Assessments and Cold Start Procedures

As businesses plan their return and re-opening they should review and update their risk assessments and procedures to take into account the change from a ‘cold premise’ to a fully functioning and open one.

A cold start procedure should be considered so that suitable steps are taken when turning on the hot water again.

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.

For more tips and advice to do with procedures relating to and affected by COVID- 19, please see our dedicated COVID-19 page.