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Department of Health hit with severe disease outbreak as staff return to office after pandemic

The Department of Health in Ireland has been hit with a severe disease outbreak as staff returned to the office after the pandemic.

Legionnaires’ Disease, a severe type of pneumonia that can be caused by inhaling bacteria from water, was discovered in the shower area.

The building, which is located on Baggot Street in Dublin, was mostly empty during the height of the coronavirus pandemic as people were asked to work from home.

It’s believed the outbreak is linked to stagnant water in the showers, left there when the offices were mostly vacant.

Has your building been closed or had reduced capacity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? If so, there is a risk of legionella developing in water systems that have remained dormant.

All employers, self-employed and those in control of premises (such as landlords) have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling the risks associated with legionella. As you begin to re-open your premises you should conduct a legionella risk assessment, particularly when you reinstate a water system, or start using it again.

It is important to note that you should have a Legionella Risk Assessment carried out if you start using a water system again. You should also begin to manage, prevent and control the risks.

The Health & Safety Executive’s ACOP L8 requires that the Duty Holder should appoint a ‘Responsible Person’ to take day-to-day responsibility for controlling Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease. This will involve implementing the recommendations from the Risk Assessment, selecting contractors to maintain the system and arranging for routine monitoring as required.

Furthermore, if hot and cold water outlets are used infrequently, it is recommended to flush them weekly to prevent water stagnation. If you cannot do this, we can  ensure that systems are cleaned and disinfected before the building is occupied, if required.

Legionella and Fire Safe are experts in Legionella Compliance and can provide you with expert advice and guidance around managing the risks associated with building re-opening.

For more information on your responsibilities as an employer or property owner Contact one of our legionella experts:

info@legionellandfiresafe.co.uk

0800 080 3045

 

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