Under general health and safety law, employers and providers of residential accommodation have to consider the risks from Legionella that may affect staff, members of the public and residents, and take suitable precautions to control Legionella bacterial growth in their water systems, showers and shower heads.
Showers deliver water at approximately 45°C which is an ideal temperature for pathogens to proliferate. Showerheads act as filters trapping debris and scale which can be used by bacteria both as a nutrient and a safe habitat. When water stagnates, bacteria are allowed to multiply. Cleaning and disinfecting showerheads on a regular basis removes both the nutrients and habitat required by bacteria, thus minimising the risk of any Legionella bacteria which may be present in the water from multiplying.
Legionella bacteria occurs naturally in water and given the right conditions can quickly and easily multiply throughout water systems. When water contaminated with Legionella is released into the atmosphere in vapour form, such as the mist produced from shower heads, the bacteria can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Inhalation of contaminated water droplets in this way may lead to the contraction of Legionnaires Disease.
Following the guidance in HSE (L8 / HSG 274) Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (Legionnaires’ disease – The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems), quarterly cleaning of showerheads should take place as part of any effective management system. Cleaning and disinfection is a fundamental component of controlling Legionella bacteria and should be a central part of a suitable and sufficient management system. In order to effectively cleanse and disinfect showerheads and hoses, a three stage procedure should be adopted, as detailed below;
Stage 1 – Clean/De-scale
Stage 2 – Disinfect
Stage 3 – Flush
Keeping your Shower heads in optimal operating conditions is a vital part of your Legionella control programme as they can provide favourable conditions for legionella bacteria to grow.
Waterman opt to use an acid based descaling method to descale and sanitize showerheads, plumbing fittings and sanitary ware in one operation removing the build-up of lime scale and any associated underlying bacteria to reduce the risk of legionellosis, ensuring you remain compliant at all times.
Our water hygienists are highly experienced in removing, dismantling and cleaning of all shower head types as part of our contracted routine maintenance programme.