Guernsey Legionella bacteria guidance could be updated

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Better guidance is needed for businesses in managing Legionella bacteria in water systems, Guernsey's Health and Safety Executive has said.

It currently uses the UK's code of practice to give guidance locally.

However, some areas of the guidance do not match with Guernsey laws, which differ from their UK equivalents.

The executive has suggested adapting the UK's code to create one for the island and has launched a public consultation on the issue.

Legionnaires' disease

  • The bacterial disease causes a lung infection or pneumonia
  • It is caused by a bacteria known as Legionella pneumophila, which is found in natural and man-made water systems
  • Symptoms first appear between two and 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and if identified quickly can be treated with antibiotics
  • The disease and bacterium were discovered after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976, which led to the name

Source: BBC Health

Richard Brown, chief health and safety officer, said ensuring the bacteria stayed at safe levels was about managing water systems.

He said one of the issues that helped it to multiply was "dead legs", where water can lie undisturbed for weeks or months at a time.

Mr Brown said these could be created when buildings were extended or converted from one use to another.

He said the aim of the guidance would not just be getting people to flush out water systems, but proving the measures taken were effective.

It would apply wherever someone is employed or a service is offered.

The consultation is available on the executive's website and is due to closed on 1 March.

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