Does your business need a legionella risk assessment?

Laboratory staff member conducting legionella testing

As an employer or property management team in control of any property, you have a legal obligation to conduct regular legionella risk assessments. 

Completing an assessment is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which was brought into legislation to ensure those responsible provide a duty of care to the people inside their premises. 

What is a legionella risk assessment?

A legionella risk assessment is conducted to help identify potential risk factors in the water systems within your building. Each assessment evaluates the chances of legionella bacteria being present in your water systems and whether the system is at risk of exposing building occupants to the bacteria.

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a serious form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease, and most often, the bacteria is spread through individuals inhaling contaminated water droplets.

Why are legionella risk assessments important?

If your business operates any type of water system that individuals can be exposed to, you must complete routine risk assessments to identify the risk and help prevent legionella bacteria. This is due to its potentially fatal repercussions on individuals inside the building who may fall under the high-risk category. 

To ensure the safety of these occupants, your assessment needs to cover all potential hazards and any foreseeable events that may arise during the supply, storage, delivery, maintenance and use of the water. 

Safety regulators from all across the world agree that the spread of legionella bacteria is preventable as long as the correct safeguards are undertaken by building managers.

Do all places of work need one?

As a business owner or property management team, you are entirely responsible for ensuring a legionella risk assessment occurs on your property and that it is conducted following current laws and regulations.

Any business that uses water is subject to completing an assessment as part of the HSE Approved Code of Practice for The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems (L8).

These assessments are particularly crucial in buildings with a large number of occupants as they prevent the widespread transmission of bacteria. High-risk locations for the spread of legionella bacteria include care homes, schools, shops, gyms, hotels, offices, and commercial buildings. 

Care homes are particularly important as they house many high-risk residents who might suffer the most severe consequences from exposure to the bacteria. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) stresses the significance of routine testing in nursing homes and requests that everyone working in the industry abide by The HSE’s L8 Code of Practice. 

This involves appointing a professional who is qualified to assess potential risks in your water system, provide guidance on legionella control, conduct ongoing monitoring, and keep accurate records. 

How often must they be taken out?

According to The HSE Approved Code of Practice (L8), employers and building managers are required to review these assessments on a regular basis in line with the risk assessment findings and recommendations. However, there are certain circumstances where an earlier assessment is required, such as when pipework changes are performed or when building systems are classified as high-risk or when there is a lack of system control.

Who can complete a legionella risk assessment? 

A legionella risk assessment should be conducted by a person who is suitably qualified and competent to undertake the legionella risk assessment.

Anybody who falls in this category who is familiar with the process can be responsible for conducting a legionella risk assessment. However, to ensure complete safety and accurate findings, it is best practice to employ the services of an organisation with expertise in these type of assessments. 

Here at Irrigonics, we specialise in legionella risk assessments and can provide your businesses with an evaluation that is fully compliant with the HSE Approved Code of Practice L8.

You can count on our team of professionals to identify any risks or potential risks in your water systems and how likely the risk is to impact your business. We will assess how well your system is maintained and provide a professional report for your hygiene records.

For professional assistance in producing accurate legionella risk assessments, get in touch with us today.

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