Why Do I Need A Legionella Risk Assessment?

Why Do I Need A Legionella Risk Assessment?

In December 2022, it was reported that a sheltered housing complex in Holme Wood is being investigated by UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) after the Legionella bacteria was found in the water system. Incidents like this highlight the dangers of Legionella and re-affirms the importance of getting a Legionella Risk Assessment carried out.

A Legionella Risk Assessment identifies the potential areas in properties and buildings where there may be legionella contamination. The assessment report will also detail the practices and protocols to be implemented in order to monitor and control any level of risk. So, what is Legionella and what does the risk assessment involve?

What Is Legionella?

Legionella is an identifiable disease and as such, if you are a landlord of a property, multiple properties or a housing complex, or a business owner, you are legally obliged under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure a Legionella Risk Assessment has been conducted.

It is a bacterium found in natural water sources, like ponds, lakes and rivers, but can also be found in manmade water systems, like water and waste pipes, and heating systems. When the bacteria lives in the water and thrives, it can be hazardous to human health.

There are three elements that when they come together in a water system, legionella is likely to be present and thrive. They are:

  • Temperature – below 20°C, the legionella bacteria will be dormant, i.e. it is present but doesn’t grow, and above 50°C the bacteria is killed. However, water between these temperatures provides the ideal environment.
  • Nutrients – like all living things, they need nutrients to survive the legionella bacteria feeds off the types of materials you will find in unused natural or manmade water sources, like sludge, rust, scale and biofilms (these are a collection of microorganisms).
  • Stagnation – manmade water sources, like pipes and heating systems, which haven’t been used for a while, or ponds and lakes which don’t have flowing water, can create the perfect environment for legionella to grow and thrive.

What’s Involved In A Legionella Risk Assessment?

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (HWSA) states that it is a legal requirement for any business owner, employer, property manager or landlord to ‘assess, mitigate and consider’ the risk of Legionella within their business premises or rental property.

Employers, property managers and landlords must ensure they have demonstrated a duty of care towards their employees and tenants in respect of their health and safety. In doing so, they must make sure a legionella and water hygiene risk assessment has been carried out ‘where there is a foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria’.

At Swiftclean, we provide a comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessment that complies with Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and includes:

  • An introduction and background information about Legionella.
  • Your site/premises/property details.
  • A Legionella Management Documentation audit.
  • Condition survey reports of the domestic water plant.
  • Temperature profiling.
  • Photographic evidence.
  • Asset Register.
  • Identification of risks that includes, but is not limited to, dead leg pipework and little used outlets.
  • Recommendations for the monitoring, control and management of water sources for Legionella.
  • Basic schematic of plant and distribution.

Swiftclean recommends that Legionella assessment reports are regularly reviewed and updated. It’s important to understand the threat of Legionella and the harm it can cause to people, and children, if found in a property or business premises. Switftclean is one of the leading trade, business and commercial Legionella Risk Assessment companies in the UK. All risk assessments are conducted by experienced, knowledgeable professionals who can guide you at every step. To find out more about our Legionella Risk Assessments, contact one of our team today.

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