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Traces of Legionella bacteria 'above the threshold' set by the Health and Safety Executive, were found in the school's water system during water quality tests. The school was closed but parents were urged not to be 'unduly concerned'. Disinfection works are currently underway to deal with the bacteria and more tests will be carried out to ensure the system's safety.
The presence of Legionella in water does not pose an immediate risk, as it only causes disease when water droplets containing the bacteria are inhaled. Children are not considered to be in the 'at risk' category whereas staff, particularly males over 45 and who smoke, could be at risk.
This is an example of why routine water samples and monitoring are essential, the bacteria were discovered and controlled before any serious risk could develop. Please see the original article here for more information.
When abnormally high levels of legionella were found in the water system of a Bromsgrove nursing home, the Council served the home with a non-compliance notice. A week later, the elderly residetns were forced to leave and find alternative accommodation.
The nursing home's failure to provide a safe and suitable living environment saw notices from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and the Health and Safety Executive.
Despite the local authority working with the home to improve standards, no significant improvement had occurred. The home's managing director said that within towo days of the order, the water had been treated to eliminate the bacteria.
For the full article, click here.
During a recent study, 'Legionella spp. in UK composts - a potential public health’, 22 brands of compost were tested and 14 were found to contain a species of Legionella. Dr Beattie, who was part of the team from Strathclyde University conducting the study, said "Disease causing micro-organisms are widespread in the environment, and therefore it is not too surprising that species of Legionella that can cause human disease are present in compost.”
Dr Beattie suggests it could be a change in the composition of compost that has resulted in the presence of species including Legionella longbeachae. However, she emphasised that although the findings show Legionella is relatively common in compost, the risk of humans being infected is very low, especially given the high volume of compost sold.
For more details, click here for the BBC article.
Chelmsford Crown Court has ruled that Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £350,000 in relation to two unrelated failings of health and safety – one of which concerned the outbreak of at least seven cases of Legionnaires ’ disease. One case was fatal and the other contributory to a patient’s death.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the hospital failed to correctly monitor the hot and cold water systems or adequately clean and disinfect elements of the system. Click here for HSE’s article and all the details. This is an example of not only the legal ramifications of not having an effective Legionella control regime in place, but the effects on patients, staff and their families.
Mother Redcaps Care Home was issued an improvement notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to address the risk of Legionella is their water systems. Liverpool Crown Court were told that when HSE inspectors visited the site there were several points of concern:
- There was no risk assessment
- Regular boiler temperatures were not taken
- There were no schematics of the water system
- Water temperatures between 20ºC and 45ºC were “commonplace”
Two deadline extensions were granted to the care home but when the necessary measures were not taken, the HSE prosecuted them. Although there was no evidence of Legionella at the care home, it was their failure to identify and control the risk that resulted in a £40k payout. One HSE inspector said, “This case should act as a warning to firms that they will find themselves in court if they ignore enforcement notices.”
Read the full article here.