A legionella risk assessment is the first step in ensuring that you are managing your responsibilities when it comes to the safety of other people. When you are an employer, or the owner/landlord of a property it is your responsibility to make sure that risks are managed – and the only way to do this is to assess them in the first place.
In addition to your legal responsibilities which come under UK Health and Safety Legislation, you also have a moral obligation to do all you can to reduce the risk of harm. Legionnaire’s Disease can be extremely nasty and in some cases even fatal.
A properly conducted risk assessment will allow you to identify and assess potential sources of risk such as pumps, heat exchangers and establish if they could create a risk of legionella. It may well be the case that while they could in theory pose a risk, tests indicate that they do not do so. However, if any risk factors or areas are identified this information will put you in the best possible position to manage those risks, and take appropriate action to prevent the disease from occurring.
How a risk assessment can prevent the disease
Once you know that there is a problem, or that there is the potential for a problem then you can start thinking about legionella prevention; either taking the right steps to counter a situation or ensuring that one does not arise.
Legionnaire’s Disease is caused when Legionella bacteria infects the lungs. Legionella is found in small, harmless quantities in many outdoor and natural bodies of water such as ponds or lakes. However, when these bacterial spores find their way into artificial water storage systems such as air conditioning, storage tanks and radiators, they can multiply far faster than they ever would in the open air. In these quantities they can become extremely dangerous and if breathed in, can cause the disease.
Initial Legionnaires disease symptoms may appear flu-like and the victim may experience headaches, muscular pain and aches, a fever, chills, exhaustion and confusion. However, after some time pneumonia like symptoms may point to something more sinister and the sufferer may develop a persistent cough (with either blood or phlegm being present). They may also have chest pains and shortness of breath.
Symptoms may be exacerbated if the victim is over 50 years old, is a smoker or former smoker, is a heavy drinker, or has an existing medical condition such as HIV, Kidney Disease or Cancer which may have weakened their immune system.
Who can complete legionella testing?
The best, and most appropriate way to reduce the risk of Legionnaires Disease is to ensure that any bodies of water within your property are free of the harmful Legionella bacteria. This can be done by way of a professional Legionella Risk Assessment.
Bluewater Plumbers Ltd have the experience and skill to carry out a Legionella risk assessment and cover the whole of Manchester and Greater Manchester.