How legionella could affect your venue

Do you know what Legionnaires’ disease is and how it could impact your venue?

Though relatively uncommon, the lung infection can be easily contracted by poor management and control of water systems. Make sure you keep your staff and your customers safe by thoroughly assessing your risks and putting measures in place to mitigate against them.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a disease caused by legionella bacteria, which can be found in natural water sources or purpose-built water systems. The bacteria grows in specific conditions, such as if the water temperature is stored between 20-45°C or if stagnant water is stored and recirculated.

It’s contracted by inhaling small droplets of water that contain the bacteria.

Flu-like symptoms include a cough, muscle pains, headache, fever. If a member of staff or a customer are concerned about the symptoms, they should see a doctor and get tested.

Legionella at your premises

Someone at your venue needs to have responsibility of managing legionella risks. Take a look at the Health and Safety Executive document – Legionnaires’ disease – The Control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) – for the very best guidance on how to control these risks.

In its simplest terms, you must make sure that systems that use water at your venue are regularly checked and maintained.

Identify and assess sources of risk

It’s our two favourite words again – risk assessment. This will help you to decide if your system is low or high risk, and if it’s being controlled adequately. You may need to appoint a competent person to put risk management procedures in place. 

If you believe your club is at significant risk from exposure to legionella, your competent person must comply with their duties and try to control the risk. This includes implementing control measures such as: 

  • Regularly flushing systems that use water
  • Prevent debris getting into the system
  • Setting control parameters, particularly temperature
  • Removing any redundant pipework

Any Legionnaires’ disease that are confirmed by a health professional must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. 

Maintain your systems if your venue is closed temporarily

If your building is shut for a period of time you should continue to maintain your water systems.

Remove heat sources if possible, don’t drain down pipework and continue your usual control measures such as monitoring temperatures. This is important because, when you start up again, you’ll want to make sure your systems are in the best possible condition.

Recommissioning your systems safely is key and you should prepare for this as soon as possible. Clean, disinfect, chlorinate and sample your systems to ensure they are completely free from harmful bacteria. 

Visit Legionella Control for more information on keeping your water systems safe.

For more information on the disease, and further risk management advice, please get in touch with our team