Heightened Legionella Risks in empty/low use commercial premises during and after Covid 19 virus outbreak
Since the Government is now advising home working, it is timely to remind you of the Legionella risks in vacant properties where water is allowed to stagnate within water systems. As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and to minimise the chances of stagnation. To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods see -
This guidance also applies to workplaces which become less occupied (such as out-patient wards). In addition, consideration is required of other water systems that are no longer in use, such as leisure, sports and swimming and spa pool facilities. We suggest that for these facilities, you should follow the procedures described in the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group Code of Practice and this can be found at https://www.pwtag.org/code-of-practice/.
Guidance has also been produced by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious disease on managing Legionella in building water systems during the COVID-19 pandemic -
If you choose to have your water services system maintained by an outside contractor you should ensure that they are competent in legionella management, one method of ensuring this is to enquire as to whether they are members of the LCA (Legionella Control Association) - https://www.legionellacontrol.org.uk/directory/ . There is also further guidance on the safe management of water systems during the Covid – 19 outbreak.
The Health and Safety Executive has recently updated legislation regarding the control of Legionnaires' Disease. The revision in legislation means that it now applies to residential lettings, which were not previously covered.
All rented residential properties must have a risk assessment undertaken to determine the risk of Legionella, which should result in the Landlord implementing appropriate control measures.
Landlords are duty bound to take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to Legionella under health and safety law, failure to do so can result in a fine.
Last Updated on Tuesday, January 18, 2022