Mitigate the threat of COVID-19 and remember Legionella water testing!
The return to work across parts of the United Kingdom is a cause of concern for many business owners looking to safeguard the health of their workforces, and rightly so. While progressive management teams are mitigating the risks of COVID-19 by subdividing offices and introducing temperature checks, other pre-existing risks—such as Legionella—also present a significant threat in the office environment. And with buildings having been vacant for some time, Legionella water testing is more important than ever.
The consequences of not carrying out regular checks and flushing systems can be fatal. Legionella thrives in ‘Goldilocks’ water systems, where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Many offices have been mothballed during the lockdown with the normal flow of water usage stopped; effectively leaving water sitting in pipes for weeks. Businesses such as pubs, clubs, leisure centres, spas, student accommodation, dental practices and military barracks are particularly at risk.
As a specialist monitoring and surveillance engineering firm, we have been working with building managers in these types of establishments to reduce the threat of Legionella through the introduction of our combined automated flushing and temperature units. Placed on taps and shower fixtures, these units provide scheduled, automated temperature readings and flushing.
But what about the everyday office where showers for staff have been lying dormant? Legionnaire’s is a respiratory illness spread in the vapour mist from air conditioning units, taps and particularly showerheads. For this reason, all businesses need to pay special attention to shower blocks, especially since more people will be avoiding public transport by biking or jogging to work. To avoid setting off a slew of problems, trained facilities management staff need to check the systems prior to people coming into the office and using the showers.
“Like many companies during the lockdown, we have found ourselves being asked to turn our systems and hardware engineering expertise toward the problems created by COVID-19; in our case, monitoring the temperature of employees entering premises. This is a problem we have solved with our FeverLink suite of products. However, we remain focused on providing state-of-the-art monitoring systems into business premises, and we are concerned that basic risks such as Legionella water testing (that are poorly understood in the wider business community) will be missed,” commented Smarter Technologies CEO Bradley Wingrave.
The lockdown period is unique in our industrial history. Coupled with the increased complexity of the UK’s building infrastructure, business owners are faced with new challenges in returning to work. All of the normal issues linked to cleansing systems, air quality, temperature and pest control have been magnified, and a staggered return to work means that conventional systems may be overborne as property managers contend with a new range of issues linked to the health of the workforce.
The only way forward is to take advantage of available technology to improve operations and ensure compliance with both existing regulations and new guidance that is cascading down from the government.
COVID-19 has made the health of the nation a newsworthy topic, and employers will need to demonstrate a heightened duty of care in the workplace going forward—a requirement that Smarter Technologies is equipped and experienced to meet.