Last reviewed 22 July 2021

Businesses, and in particular the hospitality sector, need to be extra vigilant after worrying data about the high incidence of legionella in hotels.

This warning comes from the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) which, in 2020, issued Return to Work Guidance, available here, which highlighted this and several other risks that could shut down businesses just as they are trying to open up.

It has most recently drawn attention to a study carried out by the UKAS-accredited laboratory at Feedwater Ltd, an LCA-registered water treatment service provider.

This found a marked increase in the numbers of samples testing positive for legionella after lockdown, even in systems where legionella colonisation was not easily detectable before March 2020.

Up to two-thirds of samples taken from the selected systems were positive for legionella in post-lockdown sampling and, even in premises considered under control prior to the pandemic, Legionella had become much more commonly detected in samples taken post-lockdown.

BOHS CEO Kevin Bampton said: “It is perfectly understandable that businesses are keen to get on with life as usual. However, the extended lockdown is unprecedented and is likely to give rise to more health risks for workers that can really have a profound and negative effect on individuals and on companies.”

He has urged employers to use BOHS and other guidance in order to get back to work healthily and “without nasty surprises”.