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21st April 2017
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Inta issues reminder to installers after news of another Legionnaires' outbreak
As another Legionella outbreak has been reported in Stoke-on-Trent, anti-scald tap, valve and shower manufacturer Inta issues a timely reminder to engineers and installers on how to safeguard against the bacteria without running the risk of bathroom scalding.
Stuart Gizzi, director at Inta, says: "News of the Legionella outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent, which has hospitalised seven, is incredibly concerning - especially as it comes just two months after the outbreak that gripped Edinburgh and sadly took the lives of two men.
"As a firm located close to Stoke-on-Trent it is shocking to see this outbreak when we have been working tirelessly over the past decade to avoid the issue. As well as a nationwide campaign to promote the TMV scheme, we have set up an e-learning site for installers and this year alone published and distributed 200,000 advice booklets - all of which educate on how to control the risk of Legionella.
"The source of the infection in this outbreak is currently unclear, but there is already speculation that this outbreak is connected to two cases detected earlier in the summer. Legionella is a bacterium that thrives in tepid and warm water, at temperatures of around 20 - 45 degrees and can occur when taps and showers have been left unused for a considerable period of time.
"Large buildings such as hotels, hospitals, schools and office blocks can be more susceptible to contamination, as they have larger complex water supply systems where bacteria can easily thrive.
"The obvious solution is to heat water to very high temperatures to destroy the bacteria, but a concerning number of bathrooms and washrooms are not fitted with the sort of technology that can bring the water back down to safe temperatures for the user. This is a dangerous trade-off, as even moderately hot water can cause as much, if not more, physical harm as the risk of Legionnaires disease.
"Nursing and residential care homes tend to heat water to incredibly high temperatures for effective kitchen and laundry use. In these cases, the fitting of TMV3 thermostatic mixing valve close to the outlet is mandatory and is the only way to safeguard against both scalding and Legionella."
Under health & safety law, all companies, establishments and services have to consider the risks from Legionella that may affect your staff or members of the public and take suitable precautions. Employers or persons in control of premises must identify and assess sources of risk, prepare a course of action for preventing or controlling the risk, keep records of checks and changes and nominate a specific person to carry out the above responsibilities.
"A duty also lies with any persons involved in the supply of water systems and their components to inform the appointed person of the risks that may be present and ensure that equipment is designed and made in such a way that it is safe to use at work and easy to clean and maintain.
"Preventing Legionella and scalding can be easy with products that do it for you, but there are still millions of bath and washrooms in the UK without any form of precautionary technology. We would always advise that washrooms are maintained and routinely checked. Part of this upkeep should include flushing taps with hot water regularly, but only when they are isolated from use, in addition to using appropriate water treatments, cleaning products and disinfectants.
"A risk assessment should be carried out every two years and more frequently if there have been changes to the water systems or the building use. It is vital that checks are carried out, as Legionella can thrive in domestic buildings water systems where there is a build-up of sediment - something that both hot water and chemical treatments cannot prevent. While it may seem tedious, these simple steps ensure safety is always high on the agenda - with absolutely no compromise.
"It is a fair assumption that products have been correctly specified and fitted. The most important thing is to remember to carry out the scheduled maintenance - something installers should be mindful to communicate to customers who, without the levels of plumbing expertise, need guidance and education to make bathrooms safe."
T: call 01889 272 180
27th July 2012