The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a strong health warning after high levels of the legionella bacteria were found at a Liverpool hospital.
The Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Trust was ordered to pay nearly £48,000 following an HSE investigation at the NHS Trust’s hospital on Thomas Drive, Liverpool.
The investigation found unsafe levels of legionella in the water supply system for the showers, baths and sinks at the hospital. But it was not able to conclude whether two patients, who both contracted legionnaires’ disease before their deaths in early 2007, were infected at the hospital or elsewhere.
So, where does it come from?
Legionella bacteria are widespread in nature mainly living in natural water systems such as rivers and ponds. in this natural state though, the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease.
Certain conditions do though, increase the risk from legionella:
- Temperatures between 25 and 45°C;
- A source of nutirents, for example, sludge, scale, rust and other organic matter;
- The creating and spreading of breathable droplets such as the aerosol created by cooling towers or a spa pool.
Some simple actions to get you started
- Check hot water temperature at the tap furthest away from the calorifier. Run the water for 1 minute and check the temperature, it should be above 45°C. If it isn’t, you should consider remedying the situation
- Similarly, run the cold tap furthest from the rising main or storage tank for 1 minute. It should be below 20°C. Again, if it isn’t, you need to remedy the situation.
- Look for any deadlegs in your system and if possible, get them removed.
- Download a copy of the HSE’s Legionnaires’ disease. The control of legionnella bacteria in water systems. Approved Code of Practice and guidance. This will help you to meet your duty of care.
Contact Sensible Safety Solutions Ltd now if you need help and advice.