A risk assessment is required for any water system

It is the responsibility of the statutory duty holder to ensure a legionella risk assessment is undertaken, and, that there is a suitable legionella control regime in place. Failure to do this can result in very serious fines.

Here at AquaCare we can help you with this

Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires' disease, as well as the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. On this page you'll find out everything you need to know about Legionnaires' disease, including what it is, the regulation behind it and out solution to combatting it.

The disease is contracted by the deep inhalation of small contaminated water droplets known as aerosols or droplet nuclei which are the particles remaining after water has evaporated.

Aerosols can be created by water systems which generate a spray such as showers, decorative fountains, jacuzzis, spa pools, sprinkler systems and evaporative cooling towers to name but a few.

There are no recorded cases of person to person spread of the bacteria.

Legionella can affect anyone but those listed below are deemed more susceptible:

  • Over 45 years of age
  • Chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, lung and heart disease
  • Smokers and heavy drinkers
  • Anyone with an impaired immune system
  • Male (men are more susceptible than women).

It is estimated that infection with the bacteria is fatal in approximately 12% of reported cases. Not everyone exposed to the bacteria will develop symptoms of the disease but those that do may experience flu like symptoms. There are no recorded cases of person to person spread of the bacteria.

Legionella bacteria are present in the natural environment and can be found in both man-made and natural water systems such as lakes, rivers, reservoirs and soil. As the bacteria is naturally occurring, it may be present in the mains water supply to your building (typically in low numbers) and therefore may eventually colonise artificial water systems such as cooling towers, domestic hot and cold water systems and any other systems which could support multiplication of the bacteria.

Legionella bacteria can survive under a wide range of environmental conditions and have been detected in water at temperatures between 6°C and 60°C; however, temperatures between 20°C and 45°C appear to favour growth.

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Legionella Risk Assessments

The Regulation

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 dutyholder is responsible for ensuring the risk assessment is carried out. The dutyholder is either:

  • (a) the employer, where the risk from their undertaking is to their employees or others; or
  • (b) a self-employed person, where there is a risk from their undertaking to themselves or others; or
  • (c) the person who is in control of premises or systems in connection with work, where there is a risk from systems in the building, eg where a building is let to tenants, but the landlord keeps responsibility for its maintenance.

 

The dutyholder must ensure that the person who carries out the risk assessment and provides advice on prevention and control of exposure must be competent to do so.

What does this mean?

Any business that employs more than five employees, requires a legionella risk assessment. This should be kept up to date on a yearly basis and refreshed if any site developments are undertaken.

A risk assessment details clear instruction on what you need to do to be compliant. You should action any reccomendations identified in the legionella risk assessment. It will help you mitigate any risks identified.

If you have not followed steps 1 and 2, a legionella outbreak could be catastrophic to your business. Not only could your reputation be damaged, there are significant penalties including serious fines and even imprisonment.

Our legionella risk assessment solution

One of our qualified risk assessors will carry out an in-depth review of all locations in your premises. They will:

  1. Take photographs and compile an asset list. Water assets may include water tanks, showerheads, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, swimming pools, water fountains, spas and sprays
  2. Take water temperatures and check them against the acceptable range 
  3. Trace pipework and produce a water system schematic of the premises
  4. Using this information, they will produce a bespoke report detailing the above and any recommendations needed to ensure the water system is safe and compliant to use. The risk assessor will then personally deliver your bespoke report and walk you through their findings and recommendations.

Following the delivery of the report, further conversations can take place to implement control regimes and remedial projects to mitigate the report finding. You can find our more information about these services below:

Other legionella risk assessment services

Legionella awareness training

This awareness training course will ensure that your employees have knowledge of the key legislation, health risks associated with legionellosis, employer's responsibilities, learn how to assess the safety of water systems and water temperature to minimise the risks of legionella.

Legionella risk assessment audit

Do you have a risk assessment in place but are unsure if it's up to date? Our expect can give your risk assessment an audit at a much lower cost than creating a full blown new assessment to ensure it is still factually correct and up to date.