Legionella Regulations & Duty Holder Responsibilities, Part Two

Legionella regulations & duty holder responsibilitiesThis is the second part of a two-part article written to outline the UK’s legionella regulations and the responsibilities placed on the duty holder, usually the employer or someone in control of premises. This article is intended to support and guide you through the assessment and management of risks associated with Legionella bacteria in the workplace. In the first part, we focused on how to understand the risks legionella poses in water systems. We also highlighted where the bacteria can be present, and how to identify the risks it poses.

This time, we will focus on identifying the main risks in your water systems, how you can combat those risks to ensure a safer working environment for those around you, and what regulations the legionella duty holder needs to follow.

Beginning with a legionella risk assessment

All workplaces require a risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of people, and this should include an assessment of the legionella risk if this is prudent for your place of work. A thorough legionella assessment will enable you to identify where the risks are, and whether there are currently any procedures undertaken to manage and control the risks posed by the bacteria.

Focusing on duty holder responsibilities and records

There should always be a competent person in charge of the risk assessment, and of other elements involved in legionella control and management. This person should be appointed by the legionella duty holder and is usually referred to as the responsible person. They should be knowledgeable and property trained to understand and identify potential risks, so nothing is overlooked.

In-depth monitoring of the water systems, proper maintenance, and regular inspections all form part of this process. Records should also be kept on all these elements, and if anything changes, records should also be kept that identify the changes and what has been done to combat them, i.e. a rise in the bacteria level and any treatment required.

You’ll need suitable knowledge and experience to manage the risks

If you run the business, or you are responsible for it, you may wish to be trained so you can deal with this yourself. However, you could also choose someone who has suitable experience and qualifications that will prove useful when managing the risks associated with legionella bacteria. This could be an existing employee, or a competent person from outside your business.

Preventing the risks from legionella is always better than controlling them, but this is not always practical or affordable. However, prevention should always be the first step. Knowing your water system in detail should help you take the right course of action, and to identify where the risks lie, and whether you can eradicate them.

It’s important that you keep records of the things you do

It is always advisable to keep appropriate records of your actions, even though this isn’t needed for businesses with five or fewer employees. Having those records is always a good idea for your own peace of mind and to prove your actions, however.

What are the main legionella regulations in the UK?

In the UK the main legionella regulations are underpinned by primary health and safety laws that include:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)

There are other, more specific codes of practice and guides that the duty holder and responsible person also need to understand including:

  • Health & Safety Executive: Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 Legionnaires’ disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems
  • Health & Safety Executive: HSG274 Parts 1, 2 and 3
  • Department of Health: Health Technical Memorandum HTM 04-01: Safe water in healthcare premises
  • Department of Health: Health Technical Memorandum HTM 01-05: Decontamination in primary care dental practices
  • BS 7592 Sampling for Legionella bacteria in water systems. Code of practice
  • BS 8580 Water quality – Guide to risk assessments for Legionella control

Further information, advice and support

If you require further information or support regarding the control of legionellosis in building water systems call us today on 0330 223 36 86 or get in touch here … contact us