If you’ve been following our blog or social media pages, you’ll already be aware that we’re currently still operating as normal and are keen to provide advice around buildings that have been effectively abandoned or mothballed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important that all business owners and duty holders understand that it’s not safe to re-open a building without first having water systems checked. Periods of inactivity cause systems to stagnate, and even if these systems were drained out beforehand there could well be pockets of water remaining where dangerous bacteria can thrive.
Regardless of lockdown measures, the Health & Safety at Work Act is still in effect. Consequently, all duty holders are bound to take all possible actions to mitigate the risks of Legionella and other water-related issues throughout this period and beyond. The Legionella Control Association has already stated that the Health & Safety Executive are unlikely to offer any exemptions to duty holders in terms of prosecutions etc. if it’s proven that they did not follow protocols and take necessary actions to stop an outbreak.
So, what does this really mean for businesses who have had to close their premises during COVID-19?
Firstly, a recommissioning plan should be developed in advance for every building and water system that will eventually be repopulated. The complexity of a plan will vary based on the type, usage, and size of the water system, but should follow a few basic principles:
1. When are the premises going to be reoccupied? (This may be difficult to answer for now!)
2. How many buildings need to be recommissioned?
3. What steps are required to recommission the water system in each building?
4. How long will each step take to complete?
5. Have there been any partially occupied buildings that also require monitoring?
6. Are all parties able to correctly adhere to social distancing measures?
7. What PPE will be required for those performing each step?
8. What is the contingency plan in case test results show bacteria is present?
We strongly recommend that you start developing your recommissioning plans now to allow your premises to return to normality as soon as possible after lockdown measures are eventually relaxed. Remember, timing is key and once a building has been recommissioned it cannot be left to stagnate again.
We’re here to help you every step of the way, so if you’d like assistance with any or all of the above then please reach out to us on 0800 121 8808 or email@example.com.