Legionella experts campaign to raise awareness about water safety education in the workplace

Legionella control and water hygiene experts, SAS Water Ltd, are urging more organisations and companies to train their staff to recognise potential issues in their workplace.

The Leek-based company offers awareness and education workshops – in recent months working with a diverse range of groups from housing associations to a North Staffordshire church group.

As temperatures rise towards summer, cases of Legionnaires’ Disease tend to increase.

Lizzie Ward, Managing Director at SAS Water, said: “Workplace managers must remain vigilant against the growth of legionella bacteria in the water supply. Regulations state that there’s a legal duty to mitigate risk of Legionella under the Health and Safety at Work Act  Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (C0SHH).

“This means you must carry-out a risk assessment and demonstrate you have access to a competent person in terms of the relevant health and safety advice.

“You are also required to provide information, instruction and training to your team and this is an area of the regulations that can be overlooked and one which I am passionate about raising awareness about.”

Training can be undertaken in the workplace, in a classroom setting or online.

Lizzie said: “It’s vital that all organisations take action to protect staff and visitors to their workplace. We saw a major rise in healthy workplace awareness around Covid-19 but this needs to be maintained and extended so that staff are educated on other risks to health.”

NHS advice states Legionnaires’ Disease is a lung infection you can get from breathing in tiny droplets of water. It is usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply,

Lizzie said:  “Public Health England confirmed there were 509 confirmed cases in 2019 but there’s a worrying issue of under-reporting, The British Safety Council says research has estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 cases occur every year in the UK.

“Education and training is crucial to providing a safe environment at work and I believe awareness raising is fundamental in achieving a healthier workplace.

“There’s perhaps a lack of awareness that training and education is a requirement for all workplaces and, therefore, extends well beyond companies. For example, we were recently asked to work with the Parochial Church Council (PCC) for a group of churches in Staffordshire and Cheshire.”

The Rev Simon Tomkins, Vicar of St John’s, Alsagers Bank, St James, Audley and St Martin’s, Talke, said the PCC had a Legionella Risk Assessment report in place but were unclear on some of the information in it.

He added: “We really needed our team to understand what it was we needed to do to protect people.  The training from SAS water was friendly, clear, comprehensive, and well-tailored to our specific situation.”

Training is also offered to professional organisations in the building and property management sectors.

Derbyshire architect Siegfried Doering,  of Planning and Design Practice Ltd, said: “Ensuring water systems are safe to use is essential to good building design, but the regulations around controlling legionella bacteria are perhaps not as well-known as legislation surrounding other areas of safety. A refresher on the law and legionella control from Lizzie Ward was extremely valuable. We would recommend the workshop on raising awareness of the need to assess any building’s plumbing system, understand the essential need for a legionella risk assessment and regular flushing and testing programmes.”

SAS Water has offices in East Street and works across the UK. They have clients across many industry sectors, including care homes and housing associations, hotels’ leisure centres and spas, factories and offices.

For further information on SAS Water, please follow the link – www.saswater.co.uk/