BIFM South Region CPD Event: 'Death by Water!'

BIFM South Region CPD Event: 'Death by Water!'

15-08-16 9:13 BIFM

The BIFM South Region's July event marked the 40 year anniversary of the first death attributed to Legionella. Colin Shekleton from BIFM Corporate Members, Evolution Water and chair of the Water Management Society said it was exactly 14610 days since the cause was identified to the outbreak of what in 1976 was an unknown disease. Legionnaire’s disease was first identified following a large outbreak of pneumonia among people who attended an American Legion Convention in Philadelphia in 1976. 221 cases of the disease and 34 deaths were associated with the outbreak which started the largest medical investigation in US history. Subsequent investigations later identified earlier cases of legionella to have occurred as far back as 1947.

Colin went on to show that legionella is still a major problem today and tracked the timeline of outbreaks right up to a recent case in Sydney, Australia where nine people were identified with the disease and one person died. He went on to explain that although naturally occurring in any natural water course, it is exasperated by manmade conditions and water between the temperatures of 20 degrees C and 45 degrees C are perfect conditions for the bacteria to breed. Even with all the legislation and best practice, Public Health England (PME) has released figures to say that 24 cases have been identified in June 2016 and over 100 since the beginning of the year. He went on to remind the members of the legislation, codes of practices and guidance notes in place but reminded those responsible for facilities to comply with their legal duties:

  • Identify and assess sources of risk, this includes checking whether conditions are present which will encourage bacteria to multiply.
  • Prepare a scheme for preventing or controlling the risk.
  • Implement, manage and monitor precaution.
  • Keep records of the precautions.
  • Appoint a person to be managerially responsible.

Colin stressed that no-one can abdicate their duty as those who create the risk are responsible for managing the risk. He concluded his fascinating talk by bringing everything up to date and discussed new British Standard, faster testing methodology being developed and tested and new guidance on spa pools. A very knowledgeable audience asked many interesting questions which led to a fascinating debate on legionella management in public buildings.

Ian Fielder, chair of South Region thanked Colin for his very illuminating talk, Mike O’Horan who hosted the meeting and Procore and the Resourcing Group our regional sponsors. Money was raised for charity.

For further details please contact Ian Fielder.

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