Legionella – A work place risk?
Legionella Testing: Are your workers at risk? Some places of work have a heightened risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria. These worksites are considered high-risk because their facilities have a substantial amount of water systems where Legionella can thrive. But regardless of the level of risk, it imperative to ensure that you have a solid Legionella prevention strategy in your business.
When companies specialise in water service, treatment and maintenance work, then the workers are at higher risk for Legionnaires’ disease. There are other occupations where workers are in close proximity to warm water systems. These include spas, resorts, hotels, cruise ships, manufacturing sites, hospitals and the like are likewise prone to Legionella exposure. Organisations in these high-risk industries need to seriously invest in Legionella testing to greatly reduce work-related illnesses and problems associated with Legionella contamination.
Consistent, quality Legionella testing is a must even if you’re just operating from an “ordinary” office, business or worksite. The typical appliances and systems used in most workplaces can also encourage Legionella growth. These include hot and cold water systems in washrooms, cooling towers for managing indoor temperature, drinking machines, sinks, toilets, and even decorative pieces such as water fountains.
Business owners have a legal responsibility to establish the right risk management strategy for Legionnaires’ disease. The responsibility remains, regardless of the level of the level of risk in their facilities.
Whenever you use and store water in your business you must carry out measures to protect the people using your facilities. It is not just staff but clients and visitors also need protection from from Legionella bacteria exposure.
Aside from being a responsibility, Legionella testing and risk management is, at the same time, a smart business investment. Studies have shown that businesses that follow best practices on occupational health and safety enjoy a high-performing, high-morale workforce. Incidentally they also enjoy higher productivity and efficiency, and the trust and loyalty of employees and customers.
Fortunately, Legionella testing has become more affordable and easier to conduct for businesses today. Checking for this bacteria is one of the key components of proper Legionnaire’s disease risk management.
The process and extent of testing depend on the nature of work and characteristics of each specific worksite. But the use of a high-quality, legally-compliant Legionella testing kit is often sufficient for most organisations. These kits will simply require the collection of water samples from the facility which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. Your organisation can then decide on your next steps based on the test result and the expert recommendations that come with it.