Richmondshire District Council

Legionella risks during the pandemic

Businesses preparing to re-open after lockdown are being urged to ensure their water systems are safe.

Water standing in pipes and tanks for prolonged periods has the potential to allow the growth of harmful bacteria particularly Legionella and to become tainted by the material it is in contact with.

Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory illness. It occurs when tiny droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria are breathed into the lungs of susceptible people.

Health and safety law requires employers, business owners and landlords to manage the risks of exposure to Legionella to protect the health and safety of employees, visitors and tenants.

“As we get ready for re-opening buildings, the water systems should be assessed and measures taken to ensure that they are fit for purpose and not harmful to health before being brought back into use,” said Dr Kevin Carr, Richmondshire District Council Acting Environmental Health and Housing Options Manager.

Advice on bringing water systems back into use can be found online from the Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

For general information on symptoms of Legionella visit the NHS website.