Legionella hasn’t made big headlines since the 1970’s when it was first identified after infecting 234 people at a conference and killing 34 of them. The reason it isn’t in the news so much today, is because the UK’s Health and Safety Executive realise just how deadly Legionnaires’ disease can be and have enforced a barrage of legislation to make sure organisations take action to prevent outbreaks of this lung infection. The first step to ensuring your organisation stays compliant – getting a Legionella risk assessment.
Every year there are around 500 cases in the UK. Even modern medicine can’t save them all. Those responsible face millions of pounds in fines. We are of course talking about Legionnaires disease, a potentially fatal lung infection, which can be avoided if an effective Legionella risk assessment is carried out and taken action on.
60°C, that is how hot water needs to get to kill off Legionella, the culprit behind the potentially fatal lung infection Legionnaires’ disease. Any cooler than 60°C and Legionella not only survives, but thrives, only going dormant once the temperature cools below 20°C. Knowing this, are you certain that the water in the taps, toilets, air conditioning and water systems on your business premises is safe? The fact is unless you invest in Legionella water testing, you won’t know.
A thorough risk assessment identifies hazards, which can be anything that’s likely to cause harm or illness. In a healthcare premises, hazards can range from slips, trips and fire, to electrical equipment, the chemicals used and even microbiological hazards.
Having a risk assessment in a care home it’s a legal requirement, especially because of the vulnerable nature of its residents. Visitors, like family or agency professionals also need protecting, alongside staff exposed to slippery surfaces and tripping hazards, for example. You will need in the first place to observe and evaluate the risks residents/staff/visitors might be exposed to and make sure you take appropriate measures to minimise these risks.