Tag Archives: health and safety management

Legionella and COVID-19




Do you know how to keep your company safe from the increased risk of legionella during COVID-19? We’ve detailed some information and guidance on managing this increased risk. The HSE recently released information surrounding legionella risks during the current COVID-19 pandemic (click here to read). They’ve stated that due to water stagnation in closed or reduced occupancy buildings, there is an increased risk of legionella growth which can lead to Legionnaires’ disease.



This infographic from medicalxpress details the common signs and symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease.
This infographic from medicalxpress details the common signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease.

What is Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease?


Legionella is a type of bacteria that can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a type of severe pneumonia. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the growth of legionella in water systems which aren’t adequately managed. This can also result in the milder form of Legionnaires’ Disease, a flu like illness called Pontiac Fever. Breathing in mist from water systems containing legionella is what causes the disease. This mist may come from hot tubs, showers, or air conditioning units in larger buildings.



Why has it’s risk increased from COVID-19?


The risk of legionella bacteria, and hence Legionnaires’ disease, has increased amidst COVID-19 due to stagnant water. Closure of buildings, parts of buildings or their restricted use, can increase the risk of legionella growth in water systems and associated equipment including evaporative air conditioning systems, spa pools/tubs etc. 

This risk is relevant to all public, residential and office buildings with similar water systems.



Preventing Legionella


It’s important that during this pandemic you manage and keep all water systems safe whilst closed or during partial shutdowns. This is for the future health and safety of guests, visitors and staff.

Review your risk assessment and update it to reflect your current water system usage and other systems or equipment which have reduced use or are shut down. Document how you will protect staff, visitors and others from legionella growth who remain on your property and when it re-opens.

If required, get help from an experienced and competent water treatment advisor, public health or environmental health authority. Where national guidelines or legislation are in place then you must follow those.



Key points to remember


Legionella will grow in water systems to levels which may cause infection where:

  • The temperature of the water is between 25°C and 50°C – prevent hot water from cooling below 50°C and cold water from warming above 25°C.
  • There’s poor or no flow.
  • The use of materials which provide protective niches and nutrients for growth and biofilm formation may collect in the system pipework and calorifier.
  • There is a means of creating and disseminating inhale droplets such as aerosols generated by; evaporative cooling systems, taps, showering, pools, fountains, flushing a toilet etc.
  • There is potential for contamination from poor quality source water.





For an in-depth article by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on managing water systems to prevent legionella growth, click here.

You can also click here to read the British Lung Foundation’s article on Legionnaires’ disease including who is at risk, prevention, symptoms and treatment.

We also have a Beginner’s Guide to Controlling Legionella post on our website which you can read here.

If you require any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on t: +44 (0)141 244 0181 or e: info@amalgamate-safety.com

First Aid Training Safety: COVID-19


We’re beyond happy to be back delivering our First Aid Training but we understand that there is still an exposure risk to COVID-19. The safety of our participants is our top priority which is why we’ve taken new measures to minimise cross contamination.

One of our mannequins set up with a face shield provided to further prevent contamination. This is one of many precautions to ensure safety during our First Aid Training courses.
One of our mannequins set up with a face shield provided to further prevent contamination.

Before the Course

  • A poly pocket containing the material required for the course will be made up for each participant. 
  • All mannequins will be disinfected/sanitised before the course along with AEDs.
  • The equipment will be set up prior to the course starting so it can begin as soon as everyone has arrived. 

During the Course

  • Each participant will have their own mannequin for the practical tasks and a face shield will be provided to cover the mannequin’s face as another precaution.
  • Participants will be asked in turns to place their used equipment in a designated area which will be collected by the trainer afterwards to maintain distance.
  • Any used equipment will be placed in a separate bag to prevent contamination with other equipment.
  • Hospital grade Trionic cleaning & disinfection wipes will be available throughout the duration of the course to sanitise equipment which will have a designated bag for disposal.
The Trionic hospital grade cleaning & disinfection wipes used throughout the course.
The Trionic hospital grade cleaning & disinfection wipes used throughout the course.

After the Course

  • Our trainers will bring home the equipment to be fully disinfected.
  • Mannequins will be sanitised with hospital grade Trionic cleaning & disinfection wipes as well as antiseptic disinfectant.
  • All used bandages will be soaked in disinfectant.
  • Any bags that contained used equipment will also be disinfected as well as the polly pockets.
  • The bag containing waste from the course will be disposed of appropriately.

To Conclude

The safety of everyone on our First Aid Training courses is our top priority and we are taking every precaution we see fit to minimise COVID-19 exposure risks and cross contamination. We ask that only those feeling well and showing no symptoms should attend our courses. We look forward to continuing to deliver First Aid training to our clients as safely as possible.

For more information on the training courses we have available currently, please click here to read our full post.

You can also read more about the Trionic wipes here.

2016 Sentencing Guidelines Update

On the 1st of February 2016, the new Sentencing Guidelines for corporate manslaughter, health & safety, food hygiene and food safety offenses came into effect. The introduction of the guidelines from the Sentencing Council is undoubtedly going to lead to increased fines being imposed on organisations, and increased custodial sentences for individuals. It is important to note that the guidelines will only apply to England and Wales, however there is no reason to doubt that the Scottish courts will follow the same principles.

The main objective is to ensure a consistent approach is being taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) when handing down sentences, and will take into account the level of culpability, the risk of harm, and the turnover of the organisation being sentenced. These three points will be the basis for the CPS’s starting point for determining fines and custodial sentences appropriate to the offence.

In order to determine culpability, harm and turnover, defined categories have been developed on a matrix system and can be found via this link – Sentencing Guidelines.


Micro-organisations (those with a turnover of up to £2 million) could face fines of up to £450,000 for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £800,000 for corporate manslaughter.

Small organisations

Small organisations (those with a turnover of £2 million – £10 million) could face fines of up to £1.6 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £2.8 million for corporate manslaughter.

Medium organisations

Medium organisations (those with a turnover of £10 million – £50 million) could face fines of up to £4 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £7.5 million for corporate manslaughter.

Large organisations

Large organisations (those with a turnover of £50 million or more) could face fines of up to £10 million for serious health and safety breaches, or up to £20 million for corporate manslaughter.

What is very disappointing is that ‘Very Large’ organisations have not been defined in the guidelines, which only go on to say: “Where an offending organisation’s turnover or equivalent very greatly exceeds the threshold for large organisations, it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence.” This could be described as a missed opportunity, as there are a significant number of organisations in the UK which could fit this description.

The liability for individuals has been well defined and holds the potential for custodial sentences of up to two years being imposed.

Ironically, there have already been inconsistencies with how the guidelines have been applied since they came into effect, which was the very problem they were meant to alleviate; and the legal issues surrounding each of the above points (turnover/culpability/likelihood of harm) have been subject to considerable debate within the courts.

What is clear is that the level of fines and potential for custodial sentences is much greater, and will continue to rise over the coming months and years as the courts build their confidence in using the new guidelines.

Notwithstanding the existing requirement for your organisation to remain compliant with health and safety legislation, the new sentencing guidelines increase the risks of more serious prosecutions.

How compliant is your organisation? To find out more about how we can help, call us on 0141 244 0181 or e-mail info@amalgamate-safety.com.

Inactivity – We can’t keep sitting still

We have become an immobile nation. On average, workers in the UK spend 60% of their waking hours sitting down – and if they’re office-based, this can rise to as much as 75%.

Official government data shows that 29% of people in England are classed as physically inactive, meaning that they do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity in total per week, even though that can be split into three 10 minute sets. And sadly the statistics are likely to be similar throughout the whole of the UK. We really are sitting still – and the effects of this inactivity are huge, and include an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and premature death. It is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability, and directly contributes to one in six deaths in the UK – making it as dangerous as smoking.

The health repercussions of this are felt throughout the business world – sickness absence is estimated to cost UK businesses the vast sum of £27 billion per year – and inactivity is a large and combatable contributor to this.

It is vital that business leaders take a more pro-active role in providing opportunities and encouragement for their employees to be more active at work. Employee wellbeing needs to become a fundamental part of business, with a strong focus on increasing activity levels and improving health.

Progressive companies are introducing a wide range of incentives, including lunch-time yoga classes, increased use of standing workstations, balance boards, or exercise balls available to use instead of chairs, personalised activity plans, and even offering vouchers for shoes for people who walk to work. There are plenty of changes, small and large, that can be made – you just need to figure out what will work best for your team. These types of preventative actions lead to increased wellbeing and therefore reduced absence rates, and studies have also shown that they can also improve work productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction.

We can help you to take care of your team by providing:

  • DSE assessments to ensure that workstations allow staff to move dynamically
  • a range of sports and remedial assessments
  • on-site massages
  • advice on developing strategies to increase opportunities for movement

For help with creating or developing your company’s employee wellbeing programs and moving towards a healthier future, , click here to read further details of our Health and Wellbeing services and contact us on 0141 244 0181 or email info@amalgamate-safety.com.


New H&S Sentencing Guidelines – Are you ready?

New Sentencing Guidelines come into effect in February 2016. Is your business ready?

The Sentencing Council’s new guidelines aim to ensure a consistent approach to health and safety, corporate manslaughter, and food safety and hygiene cases, and will lead to a more severe response to these cases, and potentially higher fines.

Company directors who are found guilty of “consent, connivance or neglect” in relation to an offence could face unlimited fines, as well as up to 2 years in prison.

Serious health and safety breaches could result in fines exceeding £10million, and corporate manslaughter cases could exceed £20million. 

Different fine ranges will apply depending on the size of the organisation. However it’s entirely possible that the fines could be of sufficient size to put a company out of business, which may be decided to be an acceptable consequence, if the offence is severe enough.

When a fine is being decided, the court will consider the overall seriousness of the offence based on the offender’s culpability and the risk of serious harm, even if no harm was actually caused. They will also take into account various factors including, amongst others, whether the business has:

  • any previous convictions
  • taken action to improve the situation
  • co-operated with the investigation
  • a history of relevant offences
  • committed the offence for the purpose of financial gain.

It is clear that the regulatory authorities expect companies to take positive action, and really prioritise health and safety issues. And although the guidelines will apply only to England and Wales, health and safety law is generally consistent across the UK, so it’s likely that Scotland will follow suit and implement tougher fines.

This news is a timely reminder to ensure that your business is compliant with all the relevant Health and Safety legislation, and that your H&S management systems are truly effective. Taking action now could protect the financial standing of your business.

To find out more about how we can help, call us on 0141 244 0181 or e-mail info@amalgamate-safety.com

Amalgamate Safety