This document is for all organisations that rely on a safe water supply to undertake their business activities, particularly when re-opening after COVID-19 lockdown.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, many businesses have had to close to protect public health and reduce the spread of the virus. However, as businesses start to re-open, as restrictions are lifted, it is important to ensure that public health continues to be protected.
A potential health risk relates to Legionella in water systems that have not been used during the lock down period. Buildings should have in place a risk assessment and a water safety plan, but dormant water systems will result in bacterial growth, especially in warmer weather.
Legionella, which is naturally present in water systems, causes Legionnaires’ disease which is fatal in 10% of cases. This can be avoided by following appropriate advice.
Those who need to take action are:
office buildings (especially those with shower facilities)
any organisation that has a water supply and is currently shut down.
Actions to reduce the risk include:
Regular flushing of the premises’ water system throughout the shutdown period.
All aspects of the water management system need to be reviewed before re-opening the business.
If a water system requires disinfection, a water consultant will be needed.
Links to support in this area are given. The document is available here.
Public Health England June 2021