Preventing Legionella (Legionnaires Disease) At Hairdressers

A Legionella outbreak (leading to Legionnaires’ disease) at Melir Colleges hair salon in North Lincolnshire, UK in 2010 alerted the hair dressing profession and hair dressing and beauty college and hairdressers’ training professionals to the potential risks of storing and using water in the workplace and training environments. This will highlight why it is so important to carry out professional legionella risk assessments on a regular basis.

Two Admitted To Hospital After Contracting Legionnaires’ Disease At Hairdressing College.

In this case, initial water tests found that the college hair salon’s shower water supply contained legionella bacteria.  That was consistent with the illness suffered by one of the hospitalised women.

This strongly suggested that the water supply was indeed the cause of the infection. This was the view of Dr Terry Matthews, a consultant in communicable disease control at North Yorkshire Humber Health Protection Unit, as reported in media at the time of the outbreak.  GP’s also promoted vigilance at the time.


How Can Legionnaires' Disease Affect Your Salon or Training College?
As water is present in many hair salons, hairdressing equipment, beauty and spa treatment businesses and training facilities we would urge all those in the hair and beauty profession or training to view the information below, which will help you determine whether your business premises are subject to legionella risk assessments and control regimes (which can also help prevent the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease).  Problems can occur when the water supply is produced in the form of an aerosol.

Complacency can sometimes creep in when a media story has not been run for some time. We are able to help advise and consult with you on reducing the risk associated with Legionella bacteria.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a fatal form of pneumonia and is only contracted when inhaling contaminated water droplets. The bacteria are called Legionella and are commonly found in all types of water systems including water storage tanks, shower units and taps.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Approved Code of Practice 2008 (Acop L8) have put together a list of legal requirements and apply to all premises where staff, visitors, residents and members of the general public may be at direct risk of infection to legionnaires diseases generated from water systems within that site.

Your List Of Legal Requirements

  • Identify and assess the risk associated with the water systems this is achieved through carrying out a legionella risk assessment of your premises the assessments cover all water systems and include schematic drawings of pipework runs.
  • Prepare and implement a company written scheme and legionella control regime, from the risk assessment any identified risks are to be effectively managed and preventative measures that are carried out are to be securely recorded and carried out by trained and competent individuals.
  • Review and audit the legionella control regime to ensure all preventative measures comply with the Acop L8 and have been done to the correct standard where any control regimes do not comply then further awareness training will be required.

All businesses within the UK have a legal requirement to ensure that they consider the health and safety of staff and visitors, where staff or visitors use water as part of their working process. This includes hair washing, and styling consideration should be given to minimising the risk of legionella bacteria proliferating within your water systems.

Minimising Legionella Risks Involves:

  • Ensuring water cannot stagnate
  • Providing hot water above 50 Oc at heating source
  • Providing cold water below 20 Oc at outlets
  • Minimising the release of aerosol
  • Ensure staff are aware of risks
  • Risk Assessing of water systems
  • Legionella prevention measures such as regular temperature testing and water quality sampling

Self-Help Guide By AMES
We have put together a self help guide for organisations to self assess their business by asking simple questions the key thing to remember is legionella bacteria are a water borne organism which need a number of elements to be in place for an outbreak to occur:

  1. Does my business utilise water in any way?
  2. Are staffs placed in direct contact with water through working practices?
  3. Does my business encourage legionella bacteria to proliferate within the water systems through giving them a food source, warm temperatures and a suitable habitat which is often in shower heads
  4. Should the water become contaminated with legionella bacteria is this then potentially released via aerosol which can be inhaled by staff and visitors

AMES Legionella Control Will Work For You

AMES work closely with our clients to ensure that their hair, beauty and other business premises are both legal and safe. We offer training services to clients wishing to reduce costs by carrying out the required prevention measures in house. Where clients have multiple premises we can put in place a schedule of rates to ensure our clients receive value for money and keep costs to a minimal.

Contact AMES

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