Damage can be caused to premises by leaking pipes. Check pipes regularly, lag them to protect them from freezing. Perhaps turn the water off when vacating. Ideally, Scout meeting places should have hot water for effective hand washing.
Disease - Some premises, especially campsites, will also have showers and particular attention needs to be applied here about water quality and the potential for Legionella.
Legionella is commonly contracted by inhaling tiny droplets of water contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This is normally present in water temperatures in the range of 20 – 50 degrees C. The organism does not appear to grow below 20C or survive above 60 C. In addition to temperature, a source of nutrients (e.g. lime scale), is needed for the organism to multiply. To present a risk this then needs the creation of the contaminated water into droplets, which can be inhaled (as in a shower) and the presence of particularly vulnerable people – very young or very old. When you are undertaking the risk assessment of your premises consider:
- Is any of the water supply held in tanks?
- Are there long runs of pipe work?
- Are the showers used regularly?
- The temperature of stored water
The example Legionella Management Plan will help you manage this risk. Some preventative measures which will help to reduce risk are:
- A point of use heater with minimal or no storage may be preferential to holding stored hot water.
- Run the shower for a short while before getting in. Clean shower heads periodically to clean out the nutrients.
- Be mindful that water in excess of 60C is getting very close to a scalding temperature and may
need to be controlled. Useful information is available from The HSE – What is Legionnaire’s Disease?