A Priority for Dental Surgeries

At dental surgeries, robust infection control is critical for patient safety. One important but often overlooked area is managing the risk of Legionella bacteria in water systems. Exposure to Legionella can cause serious Legionnaires’ disease, so compliance is essential.

All dental practices in the UK have legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) to control Legionella risks. Here’s a brief overview of Legionella compliance for dental surgeries:

Risk Assessment

  • Appoint a responsible person for managing Legionella control.
  • Identify all water sources and equipment that could pose a risk such as dental unit waterlines, tap outlets, showers, humidifiers, etc.
  • Conduct a full risk assessment periodically to inspect for hazards.

Monitoring and Testing 

  • Take water samples from various areas and test for Legionella. This establishes a baseline.
  • Perform routine testing every 3-6 months to check for bacteria levels.
  • Monitor water temperature as Legionella thrives between 20-45°C.


Control Measures 

  • Disinfect water lines and equipment like autoclaves. Flushing or temperature control can also help.
  • Install filtration kits specifically designed for dental waterlines.
  • Keep all outlets and equipment clean and free of scale buildup.
  • Maintain temperatures outside the 20-45°C Legionella growth range.

    Training and Documentation

    • Ensure staff are trained on control procedures and proper equipment use.
    • Document all maintenance, disinfection, testing results, temperature checks, etc.

    By partnering with a water safety expert, dental surgeries can develop a water management plan tailored to their needs and remain compliant. Protecting patients and staff is always the number one priority. Appropriate Legionella control is a key part of upholding excellent infection prevention standards.


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