Legionella Record Keeping: A Guide for Duty Holders
The UK's Health and Safety Executive publishes plenty of useful information concerning legionella record keeping involving the monitoring and maintenance of water systems such as hot tubs, cooling towers, and hot and cold water distribution systems within premises of many kinds. Understanding how legionella bacteria spreads, how this can be prevented (or at least controlled), and recording what control measures you’ve taken, when they were done, and the results of any tests or checks is vital if you are the duty holder, you are in control of premises, or you are the designated legionella responsible person.
The importance of legionella record keeping
One important element involved in the risk management of legionella is the act of keeping records. Not everyone is clear on how this should be done, what should be recorded and how long the records should be kept for.
Firstly, it is important that a legionella risk assessment must be completed that focuses on whether a risk of legionella exists within the premises you are responsible for. In some cases, there will be no risk, and in others, some degree of risk will be present. However, in each case, you should keep a copy of the risk assessment and make sure it is dated. It should also be reviewed periodically to ensure nothing has changed that may lead to a different approach being required.
How many employees are present?
This may seem like an odd question, but the answer will determine whether any written records need to be kept by law. Businesses with five or more employees are required to keep records of any significant findings including any identified risks and the steps taken to prevent or control them. Typically these records should be kept while current and applicable, and for two years after the point where they are no longer current. For example, if your business had a cooling tower until 1st January 2017, but it was then removed, the records should be kept until two years after that date. However, details of any monitoring, checks or tests carried out should be kept for longer, at least five years.
While you aren’t required to have written records if you have fewer than five employees, it may still be prudent to keep them. This will help you in managing the history of your efforts to maintain the water systems you are responsible for. However, less-detailed records would suffice.
What information should be recorded?
If legionella records are required to be kept, they should cover the name(s) of those responsible for carrying out the original legionella risk assessment. Anyone involved in managing and maintaining the water systems and in acting to do so should also be included.
Anything of significance discovered during the risk assessment should be noted, along with all inspection dates, tests, and other similar incidents. When a maintenance scheme or written scheme of control is agreed upon, this should also be detailed to make sure everything is covered. If in doubt, write more than you think you need to. At the very least, it will ensure you have ample information should it ever be required.
Further information, support and advice
If you have questions about the legionella risk management process, the development and implementation of a written scheme of control or any of the other issues raised here and you would like to speak with one of our specialists please call us today on 0161 877 0586 or contact us here.