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Legionella Risk Ignored By Care Home Resulting In Fine

3 September 2013

Bethan Stones headshot

Bethan Stones

Group Marketing Manager

A private care home in Wallasey has been ordered to pay £40,000 in fines and costs after it failed to manage the risk of elderly residents catching a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

The care home was prosecuted by the HSE after it failed to comply with an Improvement Notice to assess the risk from the legionella bacteria. The HSE granted the care home two extensions and a deadline to comply with the Improvement Notice. However, it was found that it had still failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment by the deadline, even though they were offered help and guidance on what was required.

Read our informative article What Is Legionella to find out more about the bacteria, who is most likely to be affected and how it is formed or alternatively visit the HSE Website.

A handful of actions that the care home could have implemented to stop the legionella risk and avoid the £40,000 fine are listed below:

How To Reduce Legionella Risk

  • Make sure that there is clean water in any storage tank you may have. If it isn’t, drain and clean it out. Often you find sand in the bottom of the tank. It gets into the system during repairs to water pipes etc.
  • Does your storage tank have the correct cover fitted?
  • Measure both the temperatures from the cold and hot water taps. Cold water after it has been run for a minute should be below 20°C and hot water above 50°C. Pipes may need insulating or the hot water tank temperature increased, be careful to not heat it too much or it may scald.
  • Annually, turn up the temperature on the hot water tank to 70°C for 1 hour then run the hot water off through all the hot taps. Ensure that there is a system in place to prevent any resident from using the hot water during this time.
  • Remove any scale that builds up on the taps.
  • Shower heads should be periodically removed and cleaned to remove scale and ensure that holes in the shower head are not partially blocked causing a fine spray to be created.

Please note that these are only a few of many additional preventions and precautions to reduce any legionella risk. Envirocare could have helped this Wallasey Care Home and prevented the large £40,000 fine.

Experts In Legionella Risk

If you have any queries about legionella, information on how to further prevent legionella risk or require a visit to your premises then give our team of friendly experts a call on 01274 738668 or simply fill in our quick and easy Online Enquiry Form and we’ll get back to you.