Legionnaires disease occurs as a result of infections caused by the legionellaceae family of bacteria.
It is a form of pneumonia which results in around 250 identified cases a year and can prove fatal, especially to the elderly or those prone to respirable problems.
Legionnaires disease is contracted by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in air which contain the legionella bacterium.
Legionnaires bacteria occurs naturally in surface water and soils etc but can also proliferate within man made environments such as cooling towers, hot and cold distribution systems, water plant, humidifiers and air washers.
Proliferation of the bacteria typically occurs between 20oC - 45oC and is assisted by the presence of suitable nutrients present in Dirt, Sludge and Scale as well as conditions of poor water flow, stagnation or where dead legs occur in water systems.
Employers are required to control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria in accordance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. This is achieved by following the Approved Code of Practice L8 The Control of Legionella (Bacteria in Water Systems) In general these require the employer to conduct the following:
- Identification & assessment of the risk
- Prevention or minimisation of risk from exposure to Legionella
- Systems for the management and selection, training and competence of personnel
- Record keeping of maintenance, cleaning and disinfection
Legionella Management in the University is overseen by Barry Whittles who can be contacted by email or telephone on 0114 222 2913