Covid-19: legionnaires' disease: re-opening safely.
If your building was closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.
Anyone in control of premises, including employers, self-employed people and landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella. You should have a water safety plan in place to manage these risks.
During the Covid-19 lockdown many businesses have had to close or operate with reduced occupancy. As restrictions are lifted and businesses (including hairdressers, gyms, hotels, holiday lets) begin to re-open again there is an increased risk that water systems that have been dormant in the past months will have been colonised by legionella bacteria. In most establishments the main concern will be hot and cold water systems, especially where spray taps and showers are in use, but if you have hot tubs, spa pools, cooling towers and evaporative condensers these will also be cause for concern if they have been out of use.
Hot and cold water systems
If hot and cold water outlets are used infrequently, flush them weekly to prevent water stagnation. If you cannot do this, work with your competent person or people to ensure systems are cleaned (if required) and disinfected before the building is occupied.
For further guidance read:
- Legionnaires' disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems - Approved Code of Practice and guidance (L8 ACOP)
- Legionnaires' disease - Technical guidance (HSG274 Part 2) (PDF)
- Legionnaires' disease - Lockdown risks and re-opening safely: CIEH
- Further information on control methods is available on the HSE website. or contact firstname.lastname@example.org