Water Hygiene and the Prevention of Legionella in the Workplace

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can grow in water systems, particularly hot and cold-water systems. When people inhale water droplets which contain Legionella, they can develop Legionnaires’ disease, a serious lung infection.

Legionnaires’ disease uncommon, but it can be fatal. The good news is that Legionella can be prevented. By following suitable water hygiene practices, you can help reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in your workplace. 

Tips for preventing Legionella in the workplace: 

  • Keep water temperatures hot. Hot water storage tanks should be maintained at 60°C or higher. Hot water should be distributed at 50°C or higher. 
  • Keep cold water temperatures cold. Cold water tanks should be maintained below 20°C. 
  • Flush water systems frequently. This will help to prevent stagnant water, which can encourage the growth of Legionella. 
  • Clean and disinfect water systems regularly. This can be completed with a commercial disinfectant or a solution of bleach and water. 
  • Inspect water systems regularly. This will help to identify any potential problems, such as leaks or cracks, that could lead to the growth of Legionella. 
  • Train employees on water hygiene practices. Designated employees should know how to flush water systems, clean and disinfect water systems, and identify potential problems. 


By following these tips, you can help to keep your workplace safe from Legionnaires’ disease. 

Additional Tips: 

  • Remove dead legs and other stagnant water from your water system. Dead legs are sections of pipe that are not used regularly. They can become stagnant and facilitate a breeding ground for Legionella. 
  • Use materials which are not conducive to Legionella growth. Some materials, such as copper and brass, can encourage the growth of Legionella. If possible, use materials that are less likely to support the growth of Legionella, such as stainless steel. 
  • Prevent contamination of your water system. Keep your water system covered and free of debris. This will help to prevent contamination from insects, birds, and other animals. 
  • Monitor your water system regularly for signs of Legionella growth. This includes checking water temperatures and looking for signs of discoloration or sediment. 


If you are concerned about the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in your workplace, consult with a qualified water hygiene professional. They can help you to assess the risk and develop a plan to prevent Legionella growth. 

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a wide range of EHS topics 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Risk assessment template covering water hygiene 
  • Management system to document control the policy on water safety management 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of work activity working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on water safety management 
  • Incident investigation module which tracks incidents involving water hygiene both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding water hygiene to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 




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