Reopening after Coronavirus - Legionnaires’ disease

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent restrictions, many business premises have been left empty or with reduced usage over the last few months. This period of reduced activity has increased the potential of Legionella risks in these premises, where water may have been allowed to stagnate within water systems. 

The combination of warm external temperatures and low use of water systems during the period of closure or reduced activity, could potentially create ideal conditions for Legionella bacteria to grow in a water system. There is also the potential for an increased number of people to be susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease due to a compromised respiratory system during or after infection with COVID-19.  

When a business reopens after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. Under health and safety law, employers, business owners and landlords must manage the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria.