As businesses consider opening following the latest Government advice, Warwick District Council urges them to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the public before they re-open.
In vacant or partially used properties, water can stagnate within hot and cold water systems, which could lead to Legionella bacteria growing to harmful levels. This could then result in someone contracting Legionnaires’ Disease, a type of pneumonia, once the water systems are put back in use. The risk of this happening increases in warmer weather and where equipment that produces water aerosols is used, such as showers, high pressure hoses and misters, for example.
Portfolio Holder for Health and Community Protection, Cllr Judith Falp, says:
“Warwick District Council is continuing to support businesses during these unprecedented times as well as protecting the public. We aim to help them to reduce any risks resulting from their business closures, which might impact on the public. Business owners have legal obligations to maintain the water systems in their premises to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria and Council officers are providing advice to help them do this”.
As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to minimise the chances of stagnation. To manage the risks whilst a property is empty, 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.
Warwick District Council Health and Safety officers are signposting business owners to recently published guidance on what they can do to keep Legionella under control:
- Gov.uk guidance
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health – COVID guidance
- European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease guidance
For further information, contact Regulatory Services, Health and Safety Team on 01926 456713 or email: HCPHealthandSafety@warwickdc.gov.uk