Dental teams must understand Legionella as it directly impacts the health and safety of patients and team members.
Legionella is a bacterium found in hot and cold-water systems, dental unit water lines, sinks, taps, and air conditioning units. If not adequately managed, the bacteria can multiply and cause Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia that can be fatal if left untreated.
How big is the risk?
In the UK, there are, on average, 400 – 500 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year.
The average mortality rate is 10 – 12%, which can rise to 80% in vulnerable groups. Some industry experts believe that the number of cases in the UK is far higher.
Legionnaires’ disease became a notifiable disease on 6 April 2010 in England. Therefore, medical and dental practitioners have a duty to notify the relevant authority of any suspected cases (Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010). Cases of Legionellosis must be reported to the National Surveillance Scheme for Legionnaires’ Disease. It is imperative that all dental practices develop a robust and effective legionella management plan to prevent infections.
Dental teams should be aware of the risks associated with the Legionella bacteria, how to identify potential sources of infection, and implement appropriate control measures. It is recommended that dental practices conduct a risk assessment to identify potential legionella growth areas within the practice’s water system. Control measures may include implementing a regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for water systems and ensuring that water temperatures are kept within optimal ranges.
Dental practices are required by law to monitor and control the risks associated with the growth of legionella bacteria. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets out requirements for preventing Legionella in workplaces, including dental practices, in the UK. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in legal action being taken against the practice.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a government authority enforcing health and safety regulations. Recently, the HSE has revised the Approved Code of Practice for controlling legionnaires’ disease in water systems, known as ACoP L8. The essential Act of Parliament underlies all other regulations in this area: the Health and Safety at Work and Control of Dangerous Substances Act 1974 (HSWA).
The overarching purpose of the HSWA is to impose a “duty of care” on employers, obligating them to ensure the safety of all individuals who use their premises. The ACoP L8’s efficacy is derived from this legislation, and it is the most likely mechanism for prosecuting any violations of safety standards. The HSE’s role in maintaining public safety is critical, and its commitment to evaluating and revising best practices ensures that businesses remain accountable and compliant with current legislation.
Apolline are proud to present Legionella Essentials for Dental Practices working in partnership with Aura Infection Control
The aim of this course is to provide comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Legionella bacteria, its associated health risks, control measures, and relevant legislation as per current regulatory guidance.
The objectives of the course are:
- To provide a detailed background and history of Legionella, its discovery, and the identified species.
- To understand the magnitude of the risk posed by Legionella bacteria to public health and well-being.
- To identify the potential hazards associated with both lethal and non-lethal Legionellosis and learn about prevention measures to mitigate the risk.
- To differentiate between single cases and outbreaks and learn how to identify, report and investigate suspected cases.
- To comprehend the factors that encourage the proliferation of Legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems and understand the role of biofilm and sedimentation in contamination.
- To recognise the hazards associated with domestic showers and dead legs within water systems, along with lime-scale accumulation leading to bacterial growth.
- To familiarise learners with relevant UK legislation, including HSWA and COSHH, and learn about the ACoP L8 guidance for compliance.
- To understand how to implement effective control measures and manage risks associated with Legionella in water systems.
- To examine and learn from previous outbreaks, highlighting lessons learned and best practices for risk reduction.
About Aura Infection Control
Aura Infection Control is the market leader in dental infection control. We have been supplying innovative infection control solutions for almost 20 years. Our experience has made us one of the leading infection control suppliers in the dental market and the go-to company for infection control training.
Laura Edgar- Dental Decontamination Trainer and Managing Director
Laura is a trainer and specialises in DUWL and biofilms and has lectured at many events, including the Enhanced CPD Dentistry Show. Laura has developed her knowledge and experience of dental decontamination with qualifications from Anglia Ruskin University and has worked in the dental decontamination field for 10 years.
Navigate the maze of dental decontamination
Are you looking to enhance your decontamination practices and protocols? We have a simple and effective solution for you. Introducing our independent dental decontamination review!
Our decontamination reviews are free of charge and take just 30 minutes of your time. Our friendly and experienced advisors will assess your protocols and practices to ensure your surgery is a safe environment for patients and staff.
Why should you consider a dental decontamination review? Well, it’s an excellent opportunity to understand and implement best practices specific to your practice. By identifying areas for improvement, you’ll enhance safety and save valuable time and resources.
It’s worth noting that conducting a review before a CQC inspection can be particularly beneficial, ensuring you’re fully prepared to meet the highest standards.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to elevate your decontamination standards and ensure the well-being of everyone in your practice. Schedule your review today and experience the difference it can make!
Contact us now to book your free dental decontamination review and take a proactive step towards excellence in infection control. Let’s create a safer and more efficient environment together!
We can adapt the consultation to different circumstances and needs but it normally consists of:
- Dental unit waterlines management review.
- Decontamination room assessment.
- Review of validation protocols.
- Discussion on handpiece processing.
- Time for questions and advice.