Legionella Risks During the Coronavirus Pandemic


The HSE has reviewed this guidance, which highlights that employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella.

If a building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use. This increases the risks of Legionnaires' disease.

A risk assessment should be reviewed and legionella risks managed:

  • When a water system is reinstated or started up again.

  • When some types of air conditioning units are restarted.

If the water system is still used regularly, the advice is to maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

This guidance covers the following:

  • Hot and cold water systems.

  • Cooling towers and evaporative condensers.

  • Air conditioning units.

  • Commercial spa pools and hot tubs.

  • Methods of control: temperature; biocides and other chemicals; physical methods; replacement.

  • Changing control methods: risks to operators.

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) required for cleaning water systems.

  • Getting specialist help.

It is available here.

HSE April 2021

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