Liability, indoor air quality and COVID 19
In a year that has seen more unrest and upheaval than most, a new report from Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty has listed the 5 Liability Risk Trends likely to impact business and insurers.
Of interest is number five - Indoor Air Quality after COVID 19.
The article reports concerns over increased mould and legionella risks in un-used buildings. With the shutdowns internationally, some building air quality or water systems have lay dormant which can make them more susceptible contamination by bacteria.
The words Legionnaire’s Disease can strike fear into the minds of many, so does this report raise a genuine concern for Australian businesses? And what can organisations / building managers do to make an assessment of risk?
We spoke to Occupational and Environmental Physician (OEP) Dr Angus Forbes, to get some insights.
“A common-sense approach should be taken to ensure workers’ health is managed appropriately and to prevent unnecessary anxiety.”
Dr Forbes advised that since many office buildings maintained a skeleton staff through much of the shutdown in most major Australian cities, issues related to unused building infrastructure is unlikely to be of significant concern.
“The key to preventing Legionnaires disease is to make sure that building owners and managers maintain building water systems in order to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and spread.
“Legionnaires' disease is not contagious. No special precautions for the workforce are necessary. The disease is usually transmitted via potable water, not by infected persons - it differs from COVID and influenza where masks must be worn.
For our Melbourne cousins still working from home, building managers will be well versed in appropriate start up and re-opening protocols for their HVAC systems.
How can an Occupational and Environmental Physician assist?
A voice of calm, reasoned advice, based on scientific evidence and experience. Occupational and Environmental Physicians are well known for their expertise in workplace health management, but they also have a wealth of knowledge on the impact of the environment on human health.
“We know emotions have been running high, and people are concerned about health risks. Having a trusted advisor, to check in with means organisations can reassure their workforces that they are taking all the right steps in order to re-open safely.” explained Dr Forbes.
With years of training and experience, an OEP can give you the advice you need. Give us a call to find out more about our environmental medicine services.