Legionella Risk Assessment Guidance
A legionella risk assessment is an important health and safety management process that will help to protect you, your colleagues and others from harm. Under UK health and safety law it is a legal requirement for all businesses, including landlords to have one and keep it current.
Legionella Control International is the UK’s leading commercial water safety risk management company, expert in the delivery of practical, cost effective water safety solutions for the control of waterborne pathogens, including legionella and pseudomonas in the workplace.
Fully compliant legionella risk assessment surveys
Our confidential risk assessments are carried out by highly trained, experienced specialists who help organisations to achieve regulatory compliance in an unbiased, cost-effective way.
Our reports are simple and easy to understand, comply fully with the UK’s latest health and safety regulations and codes of practice; and meet the requirements set by the UK’s safety regulators, the Health & Safety Executive and Care Quality Commission.
Quality assured water safety expertise
Our experienced water safety specialists have the in-depth knowledge, skills and competence to investigate and report on all types of buildings whatever their size and complexity; and water systems from the simple to the ultra-complex.
Additionally, our legionella assessments are fully compliant with the requirements of BS 8580-1, we are members of the Legionella Control Association (LCA) and The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS), and our quality management systems and environmental processes are accredited by the British Standards Institution to meet the latest ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards.
Expert advice throughout the UK and internationally
Rated highly by our clients, we work closely with landlords and businesses of all shapes and sizes, across all sectors throughout the UK and internationally, helping them to meet their social, insurance and legal obligations in this specialist area of health and safety management.
With offices in Manchester, London and Glasgow, supported by in-field consultants, engineers and technicians we can offer world-class water safety and legionella risk assessment solutions to businesses throughout the UK and internationally.
If you are a business owner, landlord, health and safety manager, property and facilities specialist, duty holder or the nominated responsible person and would like to learn more about our expert workplace risk management solutions please contact us today.
Our experts can quickly help you develop practical plans that keep people safe, protect your reputation and demonstrate to the regulators and other important stakeholders that you are taking appropriate measures to manage the risks in your business.
To speak with one of our legionella specialists’ call us today on 0330 223 36 86 or contact us here …
Our legionella risk management solutions in more detail …
We are a world-leading water safety risk assessment company. We are expert in the delivery of pragmatic health and safety solutions that include the control of Legionella bacteria and other water borne pathogens, the development and implementation of water safety control schemes, independent compliance auditing, City & Guilds accredited training courses and software solutions to organisations throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.
Is it a legal requirement to have a legionella risk assessment?
Performing a legionella assessment is an important health and safety management process that will help to protect your business, colleagues and others from harm.
In the UK, it is a legal requirement that all businesses, landlords and places of work ensure they have and maintain an up to date assessment of the risks posed by Legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease in their workplace.
What’s involved in the assessment process?
This type of risk assessment involves the systematic examination of engineered water systems in the workplace to identify and assess the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria.
The assessment should also review the effectiveness of any existing management processes, procedures and control measures in place to ensure you are taking reasonable precautions to control the risks and so meet your legal obligations.
Although it is impossible to guarantee that pathogenic micro-organisms will not exist in a water system, proactive water safety management and good control procedures make it possible to significantly reduce the factors that allow the bacteria to grow to dangerous levels.
It is also worth noting that the Health and Safety Executives code of practice and guidance documents refer to hot and cold water systems, cooling systems and other risk systems.
It also refers to water systems both small and large. This explains why each business and place of work must adopt the most appropriate and comprehensive legionella risk assessment for their own needs.
What is the law covering the control of legionella in the UK?
In the UK the legal requirement for a risk assessment is underpinned by primary health and safety legislation including the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
However, it is dealt with more specifically, and in some detail by the Health & Safety Executive in their Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 dealing with the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems, and their supporting Health and Safety Guidance HSG274.
The HSE’s ACOP L8 calls for … “A suitable and sufficient assessment must be carried out to identify and assess the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria from work activities and water systems on the premises and any precautionary measures needed …”
The latest, fourth edition of the HSE’s ACOP L8 can be ordered direct from the HSE website if you require a hard copy, or downloaded from our website here…
Who can carry out a legionella risk assessment?
In the UK every landlord, business or place of work must carry out a legionella risk assessment of their water systems to identify the dangers it may present to people.
Water tanks, water heaters, hot and cold water systems, pipework, showers, cooling towers, spa pools and hot tubs, decorative water features etc. – all these elements must be inspected to determine what level of risk they pose to people.
Put simply, if you use water, or store it for some reason, you’ll need to conduct a thorough assessment of the risk.
whoever carries out the risk assessment and provides advice on the control of legionella must be competent to do so
Some places of work will pose very little risk, and will therefore require far less in the way of management than larger, more complex premises.
For example, a small office with a kitchen and one bathroom will still require a risk assessment to be completed in accordance with the HSE’s ACOP L8.
However, the steps taken following the assessment are likely to be very different from those required for a large factory building using cooling towers and complex industrial processes, a large hospital or hotel, to give just three examples.
Can I do the assessment myself?
Yes you can do the assessment yourself. However, if you do not cover all the required points, and your assessment of the risk is lacking in depth or scope, the resulting report and water management control scheme you create may not be sufficient to ward off the risks from the bacteria and the threat of Legionnaires’ disease.
You will also have the worry of not being certain you’ve covered everything, and increasing the potential for the bacteria to multiply beyond safe levels.
Hiring an experienced specialist like us to undertake the job for you means you can be certain everything will be covered, and your business will be safe in the knowledge it is meeting its legal obligations in this area.
Even if the risk associated with your business is low, the peace of mind you will gain is significant if you take this route.
The benefits of employing an independent water safety expert
Our teams of highly experienced water safety specialists deliver expert risk analysis services from offices located in Manchester, London and Glasgow.
Our expertise covers the prevention and control of exposure to Legionella bacteria in ALL engineered water systems including hot and cold water systems (taps, showers, etc.), cooling towers, water features, spas and hot tubs, swimming pools, and complex industrial process systems and other specialist water systems.
The HSE stress that ” … the person who carries out the risk assessment and provides advice on the prevention and control of exposure must be competent to do so.”
We are members of the UK’s Legionella Control Association (LCA), and are approved by them to perform a range of specialist legionella risk management services including risk assessments of ALL types of water system from simple domestic systems, to complex industrial processes.
Additionally, we are members of The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS), and our BS 8580-1 compliant assessments are performed strictly in accordance with the British Standards Institution accredited ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 management systems to ensure only the best results every time.
The assessment process explained
Many people assume a legionella assessment should be complex to be correct. However, this isn’t the case. It must simply cover the important elements that could pose a risk to people, and should adhere to current health and safety legislation and guidelines provided by the Health and Safety Executive.
Our experienced assessors will undertake a comprehensive assessment and provide a working document that identifies all the pertinent issues you must be aware of.
It will cover all necessary matters in a concise and easy-to-understand manner, thus ensuring your business meets its legal obligations and requirements, while still allowing you to understand what must be done to maintain compliance going forward.
What we cover in our risk assessments for Legionnaires’ disease
Our in-depth expertise allows us to inspect and assess ALL water systems ranging from simple domestic hot and cold systems to complicated cooling towers, cooling systems, new, novel and complex processes that use water.
As part of the assessment process every aspect of the hot and cold water systems in use at your place of work will be covered by our intensive inspections. This will typically include:
- Inspecting any water storage tanks and water heaters that may be present on-site.
- Investigating all aspects of the water distribution systems in use.
- Identifying sources of water aerosols that could be created and therefore may present a risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria. This would include showers, cooling towers, spas and hot tubs, industrial processes etc.
- Assessing the level of risk associated with each aspect of a water system or process that uses water.
- Taking water temperatures at appropriate points to determine whether they would encourage the development of bacteria.
- Reviewing the management and control procedures in place to control legionella.
How often should you review a legionella risk assessment?
Risk assessments should be reviewed regularly; they should be seen as a living-document and used frequently to help manage the risks in your workplace.
We recommend that every business and place of work should formally review their risk assessment at least every 24 months under normal circumstances.
We recommend the risk assessment be reviewed at least every 24 months unless something changes
However, there are situations where more frequent reviews would be necessary. For example, if there has been a change to the water system (whether something is added, changed, or taken away), the system should be checked more regularly until it is apparent there are no risks or increasing levels of bacteria due to those changes.
Additionally, if a water treatment system fails for some reason, and is identified either through increasing levels of contamination, or through a regular risk assessment, appropriate remedial actions must be taken.
The water system should then be checked more regularly until there are no signs of any changes taking place and full control re-established.
The building or facility may also be used in a different manner to that seen when the most recent risk assessment took place. This would also require an updated assessment, as would any new information pertaining to the water systems in use.
Situations where a review of the risk assessment may be needed include:
- There are changes to the water system or how it is used.
- There are changes to the use of the building.
- When new techniques or control measures become available.
- If test results indicate control measures are not working.
- There are changes to key people including the responsible person.
- The water system is implicated in a case of Legionnaires’ disease.
What else do I need to do to meet my legal obligations?
Once the risk assessment has been completed, you will be in a good position to identify and measure the level of risk associated with your building, facility or process.
The assessment could indicate that only a minor, or a negligible risk exists, meaning the chances of the bacteria spreading and causing illness is exceptionally low.
If this is the case, we would typically recommend that the risk assessment be reviewed after 24 months, unless any circumstances arise (as mentioned above) that deem a review more quickly.
If your building, facility or place of work uses more complex water systems or the assessment identifies an increased level of risk, our specialists will recommend the most appropriate course of action for managing and monitoring the situation.
Record keeping is important
It is important to remember that whatever type of water system you operate, if your business employs five or more people you must keep written records of your legionella risk assessment and any actions you take to manage and control the risks.
This is not necessary if you have fewer employees, but it is still recommended that you do so, as it helps you keep track of what has been done and what needs be done in the future.
Relevant UK legislation, codes of practice and guidance
In the UK the legal requirement for conducting a legionella risk assessment is set-out under the following primary health and safety legislation:
- The Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH)
Our assessments are performed by experienced specialists in accordance with this legislation and the following codes of practice and guidance documents (where applicable):
- Health & Safety Executive: Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 – Legionnaires’ disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems
- Health & Safety Executive: HSG274: Technical guidance Parts 1, 2 & 3
- Department of Health and Social Care: Health Technical Memorandum HTM 04-01: Safe water in healthcare premises
- Department of Health and Social Care: 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 8580-1:2019 – Water quality – Guide to risk assessments for Legionella control
- ISO 9001:2015 – Quality management systems. British Standards Institution registration certificate number: FS 535847
- Legionella Control Association: Service standards (various) and recommended code of conduct for service providers
How much does a legionella assessment cost?
The cost of a commercial legionella risk assessment will vary depending on the number, size and complexity of the buildings and water systems to be assessed.
However, typical costs range from £££ for a single building with a simple domestic hot and cold water system, to ££££ plus, for larger buildings with extensive or more complex water systems or industrial processes.
As one of the UK’s leading legionella specialists all our risk assessors have extensive experience, are fully trained and can demonstrate their competence to carry out legally compliant assessments of all building types and water systems from the simplest to the most highly complex.
World-leading legionella risk assessment company
We offer professional water safety and legionella risk assessment solutions to support landlords, businesses and those responsible for the safety of engineered water systems in the workplace.
Our experienced experts can help you manage your water facilities, meet your insurance obligations, and maintain compliance with the law and so keep people safe.
With offices in Manchester, London and Glasgow, supported by in-field consultants and technicians we can offer world-class environmental risk management solutions to businesses throughout the UK and internationally.
To speak with one of our specialists call us today on 0330 223 36 86 or contact us here …
For more information about workplace safety risk management.