Hotels warned ‘act early to prevent Legionnaires Disease’

Cases of Legionnaires Disease, a type of pneumonia which is potentially fatal, are on the rise.

The bacteria grow and multiply in building water systems, particularly when water is left stagnant or tepid, or the system is not regularly used. The illness is then contracted when contaminated water droplets are breathed in.

Following a warning from the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), here are some simple steps your hotel, B&B or guesthouse can take.

Choose the right equipment
Dan Martindale, sales director at Andrews Water Heaters, explains: “To minimise the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, hotels need to consider the best way to store and distribute hot water throughout the whole system at 60ºC or above so that legionella bacteria cannot survive.

“This starts from the specification of products and components at the design stage of a job. This could mean choosing water heaters with a built-in anti-legionella programme, or measures that increase turbulence to reduce thermal stacking. Tanks designed to prevent cooler ‘layers’ where legionella would be able to thrive should also be considered from the beginning of a project.”

Service your system regularly
Water hygiene issues can be addressed with regular maintenance checks and periodic system cleans. Temperature control is the primary method used to control legionella risk:

  • Hot water storage cylinders should store water at 60°C or higher
  • Hot water should be distributed at 50°C or higher
  • Cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C

Stagnant water can encourage legionella growth. Make sure to keep pipe routes short with a few dead ends as possible, flush out any infrequently used outlets such as taps and showerheads weekly, and make sure to adequately insulate pipes so water keeps its temperature.

“As we’ve seen with the recent case of Legionnaires’ disease at a hotel in Ludlow, failure to take preventative measures properly can have catastrophic results,” continues Dan Martindale.

“The possible presence of Legionella bacteria in any part of the hot water system is not a risk that any hotel should take.”

A case of Legionnaires Disease could leave you liable. Speak to our advisers to ensure your hotel’s Public Liability insurance is up-to-date and appropriate for your hospitality business.