What is Legionella?
Legionnaires', or Legionella disease is a bacteria that grows in stagnant water and is a form of pneumonia. The Legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness similar to influenza.
Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated Legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Although prompt treatment with antibiotics usually cures Legionnaires' disease, some people continue to have problems after treatment.
According to the HSE there are many factors to take into consideration when assessing the risk of Legionella within a building. One of which is monitoring the water temperature and flow in all or some parts of the plumbing system.
Legal compliance of monitoring for Legionella
If you are an employer of more than 5 people, or someone in control of premises where people congregate you must understand the health risks associated with Legionella. Legionella compliance is not an option, but a legal and socially responsible necessity.
Where is Legionella most likely?
Legionella is more prevalent in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply.
The legal requirement for conducting a Legionella risk assessment is defined under the following legislation:
Changes in working practices
Even as lockdown eases, the traditional workplace is set to change with far fewer staff following 9 till 5 shift patterns as flexible hours and home based working routines become more popular.
Because of this, traditional office space is predicted to change too. Experts suggest this could involve a combination of short-term fixes aimed at boosting worker confidence, reducing the number of staff in the office at any one time and longer-term design upgrades and modifications that put hygiene at the heart of workplace planning.
Office locations are forecast to have a lower occupancy level of maybe 30-50% of capacity, and with some only being visited a few days a week.
All this has had a direct impact on the potential for office based water systems to breed many types of different bacteria due to reduced water usage and water flow. Some water systems may have even been stopped during the Covid-19 epidemic due to non-attendance of staff.
As a consequence, facility and building managers run the risk of returning to buildings with contaminated water facilities.
How can Spook help?
Typically the testing for Legionella requires manual human interaction, however, with Spook's Legionella monitoring bundle you are able to remotely monitor your Legionella risk quickly and easily 24/7.
Spook's award winning remote monitoring service called OmniWatch uses a bundle of wireless sensors (IoT) to monitor water temperature and water flow and can be extended to monitor other things if required.
OmniWatch works with a variety of IoT wireless sensors in order to monitor and keep accurate records without human error or gaps in the temperature and water flow monitoring. There's also the added bonus that all monitoring and control can be carried out remotely helping to reduce the risk to onsite personnel.
The wireless sensors come pre-configured for a hassle free out-of-the-box solution. Simply install the sensors where you need them and switch them on.
They are non-invasive and as they are wireless they can be installed quickly and easily in a variety of ways.
Spook alarm escalation
OmniWatch collects sensor readings throughout the day and if OmniWatch detects any of the readings are outside of the preferred operating range an alarm is broadcasted via email, SMS and by Spook's UK call centre.
Spook's Legionella monitoring bundle provides you with real-time secure dashboards so you can check the wireless sensor values on any internet enabled device 24/7.
Ideal for monitoring remotely while you are on the move.
Trend data and online reports
Sensor readings are kept in perpetuity allowing users to create online reports over a variety of time frames to prove their Legionella compliance responsibilities.
Spook recommended wireless sensors and devices
Wireless 2-Gang thermocouple sensor
A wireless 2-gang thermocouple temperature sensor measures two points simultaneously to gauge changes in temperature. Two probes are attached to the outside of the desired outlets you want to monitor and each have independent thermal monitoring points.
Pair a wireless 2-gang thermocouple sensor with a wireless smart valve to remotely control the flow of water.
Wireless smart water valve
A smart water valve uses wireless technology to give you remote control over the operation of its valves. Smart valves also help you minimise waste and are Legionella compliant.
Smart valves are available in a variety of sizes to fit any and all existing pipe work. Wireless smart valves can also come with a separate emitter to remotely open or close connected valves which is especially helpful in awkward to access areas and difficult, hard to reach areas.
Wireless water pipe temperature sensor
Wireless water pipe temperature sensors clip around the outside of a water pipe and monitor the heat of the pipe itself.
Wireless water pipe temperature sensors measure the hot, cold, and blended outflows of water pipes.
Prosecution associated for outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease has been made much easier with the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
The introduction of a professional remote monitoring service and its associated costs are tiny when compared to the implications and impact an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease would have.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.
The Act, which came into force on 6 April 2008, clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies including large organisations where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.
Shopkeepers risking an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease have been threatened with legal action.
The new Act would make it much easier to achieve a prosecution because you would only have to show that anyone involved had control over a substantial part of the organisation's activities. This Act is creating a whole new landscape for Legionnaires' disease prosecutions.
Get in touch with Spook
For more information on how Spook can help monitor for conditions that could lead to Legionella please get in touch.