Legionella is a certain type of bacteria that causes a severe health disorder named Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria are commonly found in water resources and are most active when the temperature of the water is between 25 and 45 degrees Celsius.

There are safety laws in many parts of the world where risk assessments must be carried out to identify the chances of exposure to the bacteria. Many national governments and health ministries have placed immense importance on assessing the risks correctly and have recommended that such assessments are imperative to reduce the risks in the workplace.

The bacteria can cause the potentially deadly Legionnaires’ diseases which is a severe form of pneumonia. Many health and safety experts have focused on the carrying out of a Legionnaires assessment as an essential first step in the risk management process in order to identify and then eliminate, or at least control the conditions associated with this bacteria. Legionella bacteria exist in small quantities in many water systems, both natural and man-made. Any property that contains a water system is at risk of developing this bacterium. This is why it is important for building owners and operators to conduct a thorough risk assessment to protect people from potential harm.

What’s involved in the risk assessment process?

A risk assessment, or hazard analysis is a procedure that needs to be carried out with immense care and attention. It is an essential process that will help to safeguard the health of people. The assessments are carried out to identify potential risks that may be present in a workplace which can include an office, factory, school, hotel, hospital etc.

An assessment must be thorough enough to identify potential dangers associated with this bacterium. This could be applicable to guests and customers in cases of businesses operating swimming pools and spa. All possible sources of legionella must be identified and professional water testing can be used to identify the presence of Legionella in a specific water source. Water samples are usually analysed in a laboratory and appropriate strategies developed to control the growth and proliferation of Legionella.

It is highly recommended that the process of testing for legionella bacteria is passed to a professional lab with the correct equipment, procedures and accreditations. A professional water treatment company can also be hired in order to carry out the task more effectively. Suitably competent water safety and legionella experts have the right equipment and knowledge to execute these tasks to ensure they are done correctly and people are properly protected.

Is it important to assess the risks?

Legionnaires’ disease has proved to be fatal in many cases around the world. These unfortunate deaths could have been prevented by proper risk assessment procedures and control measures being put in place. Most of the times, simple legionella risk assessment and control measures can help prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease occurring and so saving lives.

However, the importance of risk assessment doesn’t stop here. Routine risk assessment helps to safeguard the well-being of occupants and visitors to any place where the presence of Legionella bacteria may pose a risk. Professional laboratory tests can also be carried out that provide accurate data identify the presence of the bacteria and so help to protect potential victims from the disease.

Even though this disease is rare all over the world, it doesn’t mean that Legionnaires’ is not a possibility. Medical experts are continually trying to eliminate the disease completely. However, prevention is better than cure. Proper legionella risk assessment will help to ensure that the potential dangers are managed and then controlled in an organised manner.

Many businesses carry out suitable risk assessments to ensure that they create a safe workplace for their employees, visitors and others. However, it is important to remember that businesses need to carry out risk assessments on frequent basis to avoid any potential breach of the law or private litigation. Violating the law and important health and safety regulations could put business owners, directors and those responsible for the safety of employees into serious hot water… so please get it right.

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