Does your risk assessment offer “cold comfort” or does it identify all sources of Legionella.

A judge in the USA awarded an Academy graduate $150,000 for lost wages, another $150,000 for pain and suffering and $10,000 for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in a lawsuit over Legionnaires’ disease which they contracted during their summer internship

The Judge decided the company was negligent in not keeping the student safe from Legionnaires’ disease.

According to the case, the graduate apparently contracted the disease while cleaning a refrigerator drain. Apparently the intern did not receive training in proper safety methods. Once the disease had been contracted, the graduate was hospitalized for a month and required a year for the intern to eventually return to the Academy. As such, they ended up graduating from the Academy a year later than other classmates.

This shows Legionella can live in the most unexpected of places and the UK risk assessment process requires that foreseeable risks are identified and suitable control methods identified. This now means you need to consider some types of non-water based systems i.e. those not part of the mains hot and cold water systems.

The case did not explain where the Legionella had come from but it highlights how ubiquitous the bacteria is having been found in water, soil and now refrigerator drains.

If you need help identifying the risk gaps on your site and help in creating systems and processes that will reduce the risks of Legionnaires’ disease contact Collaton Consultancy on general@collatonconsultancy.com or phone on +44 (0)7958 124563

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