Registered Charity Number: 1037414

After the lockdown; life in the office taps and drains.

June 6th, 2020 in featured by Noreen Shears

The theme of this short piece came about from a conversation with one of the Trust’s Trustees.

When you return to your office after the lockdown beware, strange creatures and other nasties may be out to get you and it is likely not your manager.

The Trustee informed me that the firm he works for and their landlords had done a risk survey of the offices they are based in, all areas were checked in this new purpose-built landmark building. The Trustee cycles to work most days then showers and dons his suit. He is the only person who does, and the showers were found to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The system has been disinfected now. The same can happen to air conditioning units and even dehumidifiers. Fridges can harbour other bacteria if not in use.

When you get back to work do not make your first cup of coffee your last. The staff kitchen sink and taps are needing to be rinsed and the water run. Stale water in the pipes will have lost the disinfection the water companies have added to give you clean water. Boil the kettle and before you make your drink through the first lot away. The water will have sterilised the kettle and likely by pouring down the sink done the same for the u bend. Do not worry about the surfaces, deep cleaned or not they will still, within moments of offices reopening be the usual petri dish of microscopic horrors they always were, tables, door handles and push plates the same.

Oh, and more about old pipe work; some may still have lead connectors to the mains, run the cold water tap for some minutes to avoid a dosing yourself with lead. No need for plastic bottled water but run the tap.

Staff lavatories are safe but after getting back to your desk sanitise your hands to save yourself from e-coli or other gut related infection, not all your co-workers are as particular about washing their hands. Ask management to change doors to push on leaving rather than pull. The loo door is a petri dish as well. This is a design floor of public buildings and always has been.

Let us get back to normal, but a safer normal where we are better acquainted with our bacterial neighbours.

Author: Noreen Shears

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