Building managers need to be extra vigilant and ensure that there are no nasty surprises waiting for them when they turn their taps on again, as Britain prepares to return to the workplace over the next few weeks. 
If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires' disease. 
As we know, the vaccine rollout is helping businesses ease back to normality with many pubs, restaurants and offices preparing to reopen fully. The reopening of such buildings comes with the invisible threat of another lung infection, Legionnaires’ disease. On average, there are approximately 200-250 reported confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year in England and Wales but it is widely thought that number of cases are underestimated. 
NSF International, has released a checklist of how businesses can prepare for the return to the workplace and mitigate Legionella risks: 
1. Flush water systems regularly in the lead up to people returning to the workplace and increase the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C which will kill Legionella bacteria over time 
2. Ensure a risk assessment is updated and includes a written scheme for a water safety plan dependent on the size of the business that complies with L8 and HSG274 part 2 
3. Put in place in-line water quality monitoring systems, that continuously sense water temperature, disinfectant residuals, and stagnation times that are tied to automated valves 
4. If you’re still concerned about Legionella in the office, businesses can undertake a chemical or thermal disinfection of the water system or microbiological sampling for Legionella bacteria by training competent staff 
5. Ensure all checking processes have been captured in regular reports. It is the responsibility of the business owners and office management to ensure offices are safe from Legionnaires’ disease 
Please contact us if you would like any help, advice or support on reopening 
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