Due current circumstances and the ongoing pandemic the spread of viruses and disease has undoubtedly come under the spot light in recent months. From the information that we have, we know that Covid 19 has been a relatively new virus that came into our lives from 2019/2020 and this has led us to consider the risks and challenges this has in the workplace. The truth is there has always been a risk of the transmission of disease and not just Covid 19.
Legionnaires disease, albeit may be uncommon but has always posed a serious risk to many workplaces and industries. The HSE define Legionnaire disease, as a lung infection that you can catch by inhaling droplets of water and considers the disease to be very serious if one was to contract it. Legionnaires’ disease is quite similar to Covid 19 in regards to its form and how its spreads and that being one inhaling small droplets of water containing bacteria that causes the infection.
This disease is commonly found where bacteria can get into a water sources and contaminate it. It’s often associated with hot and cold water distribution systems such as air conditioning systems, taps, showerheads, water fountains, Jacuzzis and much more. Industries that would be most commonly susceptible would be;
- Gym/Leisure/Spa facilities
Causes of Legionnaires disease include;
- Stagnant water
- Lack of cleaning facilities and equipment
- Lack of use of equipment
Employers should be aware of the dangers as the disease has a 10%-15% fatality rate of otherwise healthy people and this percentage could be higher for people with underlying health issues, smokers and the elderly. At the start of the year the case of Ms. Kellher vs Muckross Park Hotel was widely documented in the media. The incident where Ms. Kellher from using the Hotels facilities contracted Legionnaires Disease and spent three weeks in an induced coma in intensive care, critically ill and fighting for her life. As a result the Hotel may have been held liable for any damages caused to Ms. Kellher. The particular case was settled but undoubtfully caused the hotel substantial financial and reputational damage.
We at ESA Consultants advise that Management and all involved in the Company inform themselves and others with information in regards to how the disease is contracted, spread, the causes, the symptoms and to ensure procedures and measures are in place to prevent the growth of Legionnaire disease in you workplace.
If you would like to discuss this further and in particular the measures and procedures you currently have or don’t have in place to combat Legionnaires disease then please contact [email protected] or 018774608 and we will be happy to aid in preventing Legionnaires disease in your Company.
Stay safe and wash your hands!