Food and safety advice for businesses
Legionella risk during the pandemic
Legionella is a type of bacterium that can grow in water supply systems. In normal times this growth is controlled by things such as the regular flow of water through pipework and by keeping hot water above a temperature where the bacterium cannot grow.
Inhaling droplets of water containing the bacterium can lead to an infection of the lungs which can develop into serious pneumonia in certain people.
Many businesses and premises that have been closed during the pandemic are now planning to reopen.
If the water supply in your premises has not been used for a number of weeks there is a risk that Legionella may have been able to grow.
If you are an employer or a landlord you have a legal duty to control the risk of legionella in your premises.
Advice and more information
- The Health and Safety Executive website has advice for employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, for example landlords, on the risk associated with legionella in buildings that have been closed or had reduced occupancy during COVID-19.
- Download a brief information leaflet on Legionella (PDF) produced by the Health and Safety Executive.
- Download a brief information leaflet on supplying safe water supplies as businesses start to reopen (PDF) after COVID-19 lockdown produced by Public Health England.
- The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Study Group for Legionella Infections has produced guidance on managing water supply risks (PDF) in various premises during the pandemic.