Back to the office, eh? The old familiar. Except it’s been shut up for six months. So it’s close and musty, in need of airing.
So the first thing Facilities Management do after switching on the lights, is fire up the HVAC system.
Deadly and waiting for you
And there’s the dangerous bit, right there.
That could cost a fortune in legal fees and worse, even kill off a few staff.
A proven killer, that hopefully your company is alert to, but which most bosses have never heard of.
It’s so deadly, it’s the one potential illness that the Health & Safety people are seriously strict on. Legionnaire’s Disease, if you haven’t heard of it. And it lurks in stagnant water tanks and pipes – systems that haven’t been used for six months.
Turn on the air conditioning or the heating, whichever it is that circulates processed air, and you’re spreading a kind of super pneumonia through all of your workspaces.
And here’s the thing. Fail to protect against it and the law says your company faces unlimited fines, compensation claims, court costs, disqualification, and up to two years in prison.
It’s right there in Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Because just like Covid-19, the threat we’re trying to recover from, legionnaire’s disease – the most virulent form of legionella bacteria – IS a killer.
Between 2011 and 2013, 84 people died from it in England and Wales. Hundreds more were affected but lucky enough to recover. Not big numbers, because fortunately legionnaire’s disease doesn’t happen very often.
All that changes with thousands of offices lying locked up and unused for six months. Now the potential is huge. Because unlike other pathogens, this is an airborne infection that lurks in air conditioning and water systems – both essential to modern workplaces.
Not on your everyday radar
OK, so how many managers are ventilation experts or plumbers?
That’s the kind of expertise needed to guard against legionnaire’s disease. To set up the necessary maintenance and keep it running safely. The kind of thing you need a professional consultant to advise.
Plus legionnaire’s disease is a notifiable disease.
If a doctor diagnoses it, it must be reported urgently to the local authority under The Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. Right up alongside encephalitis, infectious hepatitis, cholera, malaria, smallpox, typhoid and all the other heavyweight nasties. And of course, Covid-19.
You don’t want anyone coming down with any of these.
Which means getting your facilities management people or building supervisor on the case right away. If your water systems are the wrong temperature or spend many hours dormant, you are all at risk. This bacteria is comfortable between 10 – 60⁰C and feeds off rust, sludge and limescale.
Catching it is as simple as breathing it in. Which means that until your systems are checked, everyone could be vulnerable right now.
Need a panic button?
There’s no need to panic though. You can take emergency action just by picking up the phone.
You won’t fix the CAUSE of the problem. But you can eliminate any airborne germs just by sterilising the place – legionella included. Along with all the other afflictions that threaten health and productivity – coronavirus, colds and flu, norovirus, e.coli, ALL of them.
At the end of the day when people go home, have your cleaning service mist up the place with hydrogen peroxide. If they can’t do it, call a specialist.
The dry mist penetrates everywhere, including through the air. It oxidises germs by ripping them apart – bacteria, viruses, fungi, you name it. You and your staff are safe – walking in to a zero germ threshold next morning.
Leave the air con off if you can stand it. Avoid using showers or anything that sprays water droplets into the air. That will reduce fresh exposure to any legionella still in the tanks or pipework.
Then listen very carefully to what your consultant says. The law is very specific – and you want to make sure you comply.
On-going all-round protection
Of course it might take a while for the necessary work to be done. Relax, the nightly mist-up of hydrogen peroxide should keep everyone protected – from legionella and everything else.
In fact you might want to keep up with this treatment once your system checks out as legionella-free. It’s not the law to protect against Covid-19, salmonella, c.difficile or MERS, but should give your bottom line a boost if you do.
Fewer absentees. Fewer glitches from hero staff soldiering on unwell at work. More feel-good motivation. Better productivity. Big savings to your bottom line.
Plus of course, you’re legal. And everyone’s safe.
Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.
The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.