Why is legionella prevention so crucial for businesses of all sizes?

Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by HodgePodgeDays

All businesses in the UK have a wide range of legal duties when it comes to health and safety. From fire safety plans to hygienic food preparation areas, it’s the legal duty of business owners to ensure that each of these areas is fully taken care of.

Another important area that requires action is water safety, notably Legionella prevention. If you’re unaware of the risks posed by the bacteria, below we’ve provided some core insights into why Legionella prevention is so crucial for businesses of all sizes.

washing hands in water

What is Legionella?

Legionella pneumophila is a bacteria that’s commonly found in low concentrations in natural water sources. However, in certain conditions, it can multiply rapidly, until it reaches dangerous levels. If water droplets containing high concentrations are inhaled, it can cause a serious form of atypical pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is incredibly serious, especially for individuals with a weakened immune system. There have been several disastrous breakouts, perhaps most notably the initial case that lead to the deaths of multiple members of the American Legion.

Legal responsibility

One of the reasons that Legionella prevention is so important for businesses of all sizes is that it’s a legal requirement to do so. The HSE guidelines can be found in the ACoP L8 – it states that businesses have a legal requirement to show a thorough understanding of the risks, and a high level of competence in dealing with those risks.

This means carrying out a Legionella risk assessment on a regular basis, and implementing the findings of those assessments in an effective manner. Failure to comply with the relevant regulations, even if it doesn’t lead to an outbreak, can result in serious legal repercussions should those failings be discovered by an HSE officer.

Protecting your business

Besides your legal responsibility to protect your employees and customers, Legionella prevention is vital when it comes to protecting your business and brand from potentially catastrophic damage. If you need a cautionary tale to persuade you how important this is, then again, the first outbreak should serve as an apt example.

The first known Legionnaires’ disease outbreak occurred at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Shortly after, the occupancy rate of the hotel declined to 4%, and the hotel was forced to shut shortly after. While this is obviously a dramatic example, it shouldn’t need to be pointed out that customers will often struggle to trust a business that fails to prevent such a disastrous event from occurring.

A moral duty

Besides wanting to protect your brand and comply with regulations, you also have a moral duty to protect people from harm, especially where it’s easily preventable. There are simple measures that can be taken to prevent Legionella, and those simple measures could potentially save a life.

Legionella prevention is obviously not something to be overlooked. As a business owner, you have a financial, legal, and moral responsibility to protect people who spend time on your premises. Doing so isn’t too difficult – it requires taking a series of relatively simple steps, and some ongoing diligence.

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