Water testing is a vital element in helping protect your business from the risks of a build up of legionella bacteria. So here are three things about water testing for legionella that you might not know.
1. Water testing is a vital part of your health and safety responsibilities
The management and control of legionella bacteria that may arise from work activities is part of your health and safety responsibilities. It comes under the remit of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) guidance, which covers biological agents as well as chemicals. Testing the water for legionella is therefore a legal requirement and an important part of your ongoing legionella control measures to ensure your water systems are safe.
In order to appreciate why it’s so important to test for legionella bacteria, it’s always a good idea to find out more about the dangers it poses.
The main risk posed is that, if inhaled through contaminated water droplets, legionella bacteria can develop into Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. If your business has an outbreak of Legionnaires’ it can result in fines, temporary closures, the expense of remedial work, not to mention adverse publicity and consequent loss of business.
Legionnaires’ disease is more likely to affect people over the age of 45 and people with reduced immunity or chronic illnesses, especially lung conditions. However, it is the elderly who are most likely to be affected by Legionnaires’ disease, with many requiring hospital treatment or die as a result. That is why care homes, healthcare facilities and cruise ships that are popular with older travellers need to take additional precautions.
The good news is that preventative measures are straightforward, including temperature control (with water temperatures under 20oC for cold water and over 50oC for hot water), as well as a suitable flushing regime.
2. Water samples must be analysed by a UKAS approved laboratory
UKAS is the government run body that oversees certification, testing, inspection and calibration services, guaranteeing quality standards to ensure safety. All the water samples taken as part of our legionella testing services are analysed by UKAS laboratories which means we can guarantee the accuracy of the results. If you are the responsible person for your organisation, this gives you the peace of mind that you have fulfilled your legal obligation to protect staff and visitors from the dangers of legionella bacteria.
3. You can do your own water testing
If yours is a small business, then you can save money by taking your own water samples. Our Legionella Testing Kit includes everything you need to take a water sample, including detailed instructions about the best place to take the water sample from. All you then need to do is take your sample to your local Post Office where it will be sent to a UKAS accredited laboratory for analysis. The laboratory test results will be emailed to you in 10-14 days.
More information about legionella bacteria
If you would like to find out more about the risks of legionella bacteria, why water quality is so important, and your company’s responsibility, sign up for our Online Legionella Awareness Course. For only £35 +VAT, you will learn more about the legionella bacteria and the conditions it thrives in, as well as what you can do to prevent and control legionella growth.
Legionella risk assessment
If you would like us to undertake a legionella risk assessment at your company, or any aspect of legionella management, call us on 0333 090 5554, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online contact form to arrange an appointment. We have engineers across the whole of the UK so it doesn’t matter where your business is located, we’ve got you covered!