By Simon Davies and Piotr Leszkiewicz
Legionella bacteria naturally occur in moist environments: soils, lakes, rivers and ponds. In nature, Legionella is not really a problem but man-made, purpose-built water systems, which include those in dental practices, are a different story. By using that water in dental equipment, we’re introducing conditions that allow that bacteria to grow to levels where it could transmit to humans.
When it comes to ‘best practice’ for the dental team, it’s always best to start with a risk assessment. Once that is completed, practices should investigate their management structure, because that’s often missed out. It’s no good just putting the risk assessment on a shelf and forgetting about it. Instead, practices need to have a Legionella management policy statement, which could be a simple one-page statement expressing that, as a dental practice, they acknowledge the fact that there could be a risk and what they’re going to do about it.
From that, they should create a document called Legionella Management Written Scheme. This document should specify who does what, when and how, and what they’re going to do if things do go wrong. The written scheme document should answer all these questions.
Once the documentation is in place, they should appoint specific people within the practice who will take the responsibility for the tasks that are identified within their risk assessment. If they don’t have the necessary skills within the practice to be able to deliver that, they might need to look into outsourcing some of it.
As a final but very important note – practices shouldn’t be waiting to detect Legionella contamination and reacting to that; proactivity, not reactivity, is key to achieving ‘best practice’.
In line with this ethos, CleanCert+ biofilm disinfectant (cleancert.co.uk) is a revolutionary one-stage waterline cleaner that is independently proven to meet all of the practice’s health and safety needs, all the while achieving HTM01/05 ‘best practice’ safely, easily and cost-effectively.