Keep risk of Legionnaires’ disease low - advice from Hampshire County Council’s Property Services team to building owners

Hampshire County Council’s Property Services team is advising owners of public, private and community buildings currently closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak on steps to take to reduce the risk of legionella being present when they reopen

Apr 16 2020

Councillor Stephen Reid, the County Council’s Executive Member for Commercial Strategy, Human Resources and Performance, said: “We’re mindful that there are many buildings across Hampshire currently closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic such as offices, community centres, village halls and schools. The advice that Hampshire is offering – such as regularly running taps to prevent the build-up of bacteria known to cause legionella - will help the managers of these buildings to keep them ready so that, when they are able to open their doors again, they will be able to do so without delay.

“As a local authority, we want to reassure residents and those in the business community that we are applying this robust building health and safety guidance to all County Council properties including school buildings.”

The County Council is advising building managers to ensure buildings and sites are safe and secure, both now and on re-occupation in the future particularly in terms of legionella management, fire safety, statutory inspections and equipment safety.

Legionnaires' disease (legionella) is a lung infection people can catch by inhaling droplets of water from building items such as air conditioning, taps and toilets, and can be prevented by good water system maintenance.  People catch the disease by breathing in tiny droplets of water containing bacteria that cause the infection.

Building managers are advised to:

  • Wherever possible, attend closed buildings on a regular basis to undertake key health and safety activities and ensure that the building and wider site remain secure. 
  • Review their risk assessments and risk management processes in light of the changed use and operation of the building.
  • Consider any actions they may need to take or maintain to ensure the safety and security of the site, both during and after Coronavirus. 

Detailed guidance and Approved Codes of Practice, on managing water systems and the risk of legionella, are published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).