20th March 2020
We have been asked by several members for advice around provision of critical legionella control services during any ‘lockdown’ period due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Critical legionella services may be evaporative cooling, vital water treatment feeding healthcare water systems or any other application where failure to attend may result in a risk to health in the short term. Every system must be considered on its own merits and an assessment of risk made.
The LCA is in contact with our HSE and LA EHO colleagues but collectively we have no official information to offer at this time. The Health and Safety at Work Act is in force during this outbreak and risks will still need to be managed. Enforcement action may be more pragmatic due to the circumstances but there is still a legal requirement to manage legionella risk.
It will be for Central Government to determine any controls on movement during any future ‘lockdown’ and what will be classed as essential activity. For evaporative cooling systems, critical water systems in hospitals and other high-risk systems or settings, the view of the LCA is that these are critical activities and must continue. This has been fed back via HSE and hopefully should be considered by Government in planning scenarios.
Our advice for members is:
1. Get as up to date as possible as soon as possible with site work
2. Ensure chemical dosing systems have good stocks
3. If turned away from site keep a record and document all communication around the issue
If there is a ‘lockdown’ similar to some European countries, be prepared to justify the activity of your staff. i.e. Have a brief that you are attending critical services that have implications for health and give the potential consequences of non-attendance.
We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.