Dental Surgeries and Practices

Call us now on 0800 320 2037 to arrange for your Legionella testing kit to be sent out.

Our video demonstrates how easy it is to use one of our Legionella testing kits.

How could Legionella bacteria be transmitted in a Dental Practice?

Dental staff and patients can inhale contaminated water droplets that are generated by dental instruments such as the high speed hand piece or ultrasonic scaler.

The use of masks can provide limited protection from aerosol for members of staff, but the aerosol generated can easily be inhaled by the patient who has no barrier protection. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the water used during dental procedures is of a quality that does not pose any threat or risk to health to either staff or the patient.

What are the legal requirements regarding legionella control?

The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) gives practical advice on the control of legionella in water systems (L8). Detailling the specific checks that are required on Hot and cold Water systems, particularly tasks relating to flushing infrequently used outlets and monitoring of water temperatures.

Apart from the ACOP, you are also required to comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work (HSWA) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Acts.

How can I control the growth of Legionella bacteria in dental lines?

Purging of DUWLs is one procedure that is simple but effective, as long as it is performed diligently. It is very important to evidence that this has been carried out. A checklist should be devised to record the activity and a record kept in a Logbook.

Scientific studies have shown that samples taken from over 50 dental surgeries in the south-west of England contained a wide range of bacteria including legionella; up to 25 per cent of DUWLs have been shown to be contaminated with legionella.

How do I comply with the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACOP)?

Testing on a regular basis for the presence of the legionella bacteria in the water system(s) using an accredited laboratory is generally regarded as an acceptable method for compliance with the ACOP (L8).

This process is now being used by many GP surgeries around the country, ensuring protection and peace of mind.

Failure to fully comply with the ACOP (L8) is regarded as a serious matter by a Court, due to the dangerous nature of Legionnaires’ Disease.

Who is most at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ Disease?

People that are at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ Disease are those who: Have weakened or supressed immune systems, due to age or certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or following organ transplantation; Have heart conditions or bronchitic synonyms, including asthma; Smoke or have alcohol or drug dependency problems.

At some time or another, you will almost certainly have patients visiting the practice who fall into the ‘at risk’ categories for contracting Legionnaires’ Disease.

Where does Legionella bacteria come from and what causes it to grow?

Legionella bacteria are naturally found in the environment, usually in ponds, streams and reservoirs. Small but not dangerous numbers can be found int the hot and cold supply.

Poor temperature control within a water system, deadlegs in pipework and taps and showers that are infrequently used and not regularly flushed, can cause the bacteria to grow very quickly. At this point, there is a real risk of people contracting Legionnaires’ Disease.


Safewater Solutions Ltd
139 Victoria Street


0800 320 2037



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