How Vital Are Risk Assessments for Legionella?

risk assessment for legionellaIn the UK health and safety laws advise that risk assessments are performed in certain situations. The Health & Safety Executive place great emphasis on the importance of assessing risks correctly and recommend that such assessments are done to help reduce the risks associated with a wide variety of situations, particularly in the workplace. Risk assessments can also be used to identify risks associated with Legionella bacteria and the likelihood of Legionnaire’s disease affecting one or more people… a Legionella risk assessment.

Legionella Risk Assessments

Since Legionella bacteria exists in small quantities in most water systems, any type of premises that has one or more of these water systems present should conduct a suitably comprehensive Legionella risk assessment to protect people using the building and those in the surrounding area. This risk assessment should also be reviewed from time to time to make sure nothing is missed. Sometimes changes could be made to a building, its use, or even the water systems that would affect the risks, and this would require a fresh assessment to be made. If this is not done there could be an increased chance that Legionella bacteria might not be controlled adequately, allowing the bacteria to multiply and spread as a result.

Identifying the Risks

As an essential part of your health and safety compliance activities, risk assessments are incredibly important. They are designed to identify all potential risks that may be present in the workplace. In the case of Legionella bacteria, any workplace or venue that has water sources or uses water systems will need to make sure the assessment is thorough. The assessment should be capable of identifying potential risks associated with the bacteria to ensure no one is at risk of harm. This could apply to guests or customers in the case of businesses that operate swimming pools or spas for example. However, other businesses such as care homes, hotels, B&Bs and guest houses will also need to be aware of the potential concerns.

Managing Risks Going Forward

Will the Legionella risk assessment be the first in a series of essential steps to manage and control the risk? This depends on the results of the assessment itself. In some cases the risks identified in the assessment may be so slight that nothing needs to be done to manage them beyond the steps that are already being taken. For example keeping the hot and cold water at certain temperatures or making sure the water systems are cleaned and disinfected regularly could be all that is required.

However, in some situations a more complex solution will be required to ensure the risk of Legionnaires’ disease is kept as low as practically possible. This should be identified through the assessment and further steps can then be taken to ensure the proper measures are brought into place in the form of an action plan or written scheme of control.

Legionnaires’ Disease

It the UK and around the world outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease are rare. However, they can be rarer still when detailed Legionella risk assessments are in place to ensure every potential risk is identified and being managed in the best possible way. This ensures no business is in danger of falling foul of the law by contravening the health and safety regulations specific to the control of Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease.

Expert Legionella Risk Management Support

To find out more about our expert Legionella risk assessments, Gity & Guilds accredited training, water testing, and other risk management support services please contact us on 0161 877 0586 (Manchester) or 0203 637 47 48 (London).

London Office
Kemp House
152 City Road
London EC1V 2NX
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 203 637 47 48

Manchester Office
Unit B Badex Building
Westbrook Park
Manchester M17 1AY
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 161 877 0586

Further reading

For additional information about Legionnaires' disease … here

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Legionella Control International
Unit B Badex Building
Westbrook Park
Manchester M17 1AY
United Kingdom

Manchester: +44 (0) 161 877 05 86
London: +44 (0) 203 637 47 48
Email: info@legionellacontrol.com

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