Why Businesses Can’t Ignore Legionnaires’ Disease Prevention


WHILE Legionnaires’ disease recently rose to prominence in the news with the Bibby Stockholm controversy, it is by no means a new disease. It’s been around for decades now, and with cases rising in recent years, it’s clear that businesses need to be doing more to prevent it from spreading. The implications of an outbreak are severe – businesses can face legal action for breaching their duty of care, bad press, and a loss of confidence from their customers and employees. 

Bad press

The saying that no press is bad press is obviously not the case in all situations. Being in the news for a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak is a situation that absolutely no businesses will want to find themselves in. 

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A case in point is that of the first recorded outbreak of the disease, in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia. After the news broke, the occupancy rate plummeted to 4%, with the hotel being forced to close down permanently shortly afterwards.

Legal repercussions

All businesses have a legal obligation to provide their employees with consistent access to a safe water source. Part of this process means ensuring that Legionella bacteria, the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, are not able to grow to dangerous concentrations. 

Should an outbreak occur, it will likely be the case that your business will face serious legal repercussions, with the local authorities investigating how it was that such a serious breach was able to occur. 

Avoiding high turnover rates 

Very few people will want to work at a company where they’ll be at risk of catching a serious disease. Businesses that ignore Legionnaires’ disease prevention will likely experience high turnover rates and will struggle to attract high-quality employees. Ensuring that your workers feel valued and cared for is a complex process – practically speaking, it means creating a safe environment in which reasonable measures are taken to protect them from harm.

Legionella Risk Assessments

Risk assessments lie at the heart of every successful approach to disease prevention. With Legionnaires’ disease, businesses need to ensure that they have Legionella Risk Assessments carried out by a qualified water hygiene specialist. Based on the findings of those risk assessments, changes will likely need to be made, to ensure that the environmental conditions necessary for Legionella growth are not present. 

The suggestions will likely be relatively simple. Legionella bacteria thrive in stagnant water sources, at temperatures between 20-45°C. The core of a Legionnaire’s disease prevention strategy centres around testing to ensure that these environmental conditions are never present, and that if they are, testing is carried out to ensure that bacteria have not had the chance to multiply.

This should have driven home just how important it is that your business takes adequate measures to prevent Legionnaires’ disease. From reputation management to providing your employees with a safe environment in which they can be as productive as possible, it’s never something to overlook. Legionnaires’ prevention is also relatively simple – with the help of a water hygiene expert, there’s no reason why an outbreak should ever occur on your premises.

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