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Controlling legionella: Preparing your hotel, spa or leisure centre for customers following coronavirus lockdown

June 2020

Hotels, spas and leisure centres are set to begin reopening again in the next few weeks, following the coronavirus shutdown.
The Government is further loosening lockdown and that means the hospitality sector will be looking to get back to work in July.
Of course, it won’t be the same as pre-lockdown and there’ll be many restrictions around who can use facilities, a huge emphasis on cleaning and hygiene, and social-distancing.
If your venue has spa pools or hot tubs, there’s another thing to take seriously….legionella bacteria.
We are sure that you are aware of the risks, but feel it is timely to give a helpful reminder.
What’s the problem?
There have been a number of outbreaks, including fatalities, linked to spa-pool systems in leisure centres, hotels, holiday homes, on cruise ships and sales displays. These systems pose a reasonably foreseeable risk as they have environmental conditions that could potentially allow and support growth and dispersion of legionella and other infectious agents where water is stored or recirculated and water temperature in all or part of the system is between 20–45 °C.
These systems can support microbial growth; water droplets are produced and dispersed as aerosols. People using spas and hot tubs may breath in contaminated aerosols (tiny water droplets) and the bacteria can affect their lungs.
The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on how to guard against legionella growth.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can inhale legionella bacteria. Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by the legionella organism including the most serious Legionnaire’s Disease and Pontiac fever, a less serious condition.
Everyone is susceptible to infection but there is a heightened risk with: increasing age, particularly those over 45; smokers and heavy drinkers; those with existing respiratory diseases or certain illnesses and conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease; those with an impaired immune system.
What are your maintenance responsiblities?
You are required by law to act to mitigate risk.
Essential actions:
• Access competent advice: SAS Water is a member of the Legionella Control Association.
• Conduct a legionella risk assessment: Identify potential sources of legionella and how this could lead to risk.
• Devise a legionella control plan: This should involve all necessary steps to mitigate risk identified.
• Implement and monitor your plan
• Record everything: Record keeping is crucial to ensure compliance and to provide an audit trail.
Train your staff: All staff in your spa should be aware of the need to monitor and clean. They should also understand risks and why these risks are heightened in spa pools. At SAS Water, our specialists provide training courses to support your staff. See

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