Legionella hotel death calls for new approach to training

A call for a new approach to tackling Legionnaire’s disease following the death of a woman at a hotel has been put forward by training and consultancy specialist, Develop Training (DTL).

The victim, who was in her 60s, stayed at the Feathers Hotel in Ludlow in July. Another woman in her 70s was also diagnosed but has since recovered. Laboratory tests showed links between the legionella bacteria found in the hotel’s water samples and the two women.

The hotel has since voluntarily closed temporarily on advice from Public Health England and Shropshire Council.

Steve Braund, DTL’s marketing manager, has suggested that hotel operators and other building managers need to review training and compliance policies so that the risks are continually monitored and essential maintenance is carried out.

Legionella bacteria can be found in air conditioning and water systems, and recent years have seen outbreaks in hospitals, manufacturing facilities, leisure establishments and garden centres.

Braund said: “Modern training techniques can ensure that responsible persons are trained more effectively in the maintenance of systems than with traditional, classroom-only training.

“This, coupled with new competency qualifications and compliance processes, gives management flexibility over how and where training is delivered.”

He added organisations should “remain vigilant to the dangers” and be up-to-date with current legislation to prevent further accidents, adding that effective training can play a “huge part” in reducing the risk of outbreaks.

DTL’s recently published whitepaper, ‘Controlling Legionella’, looks at the factors which give rise to the disease and offers advice on what actions should be taken in workplaces. The whitepaper can be downloaded from the DTL website.

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