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Your Responsibilities

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Understanding your responsibilities with Legionella Compliance 

If you manage or you are in charge of a building then you must understand your responsibilities when it comes to Legionella compliance. Employers and Landlords must ensure that their premises are risk assessed and depending on risk highlighted, precautionary measures may need to be implemented. Legionella risk assessments should be completed by a competent person who has an understand of the requirements and a good knowledge of water systems.

Your legionella risk assessment should include:

  • management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person and a description of your system 

  • competence and training of key personnel

  • any identified potential risk sources 

  • any means of preventing the risk or controls in place to control risks 

  • monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures 

  • records of the monitoring results and inspection and checks carried out 

  • arrangements to review the risk assessment regularly, particularly when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid  

Checking what you do and reviewing your risk assessment regularly allows you to assess your performance before an accident, incident or ill health can happen. This includes checking that you have been successful with your specific plans and objectives, the operation of your health and safety management system, and compliance with performance standards, eg for hot water outlets the water temperature should be at least 50 °C (55 °C  for healthcare premises eg hospitals and NHS Trusts) within a minute of running the water. This will help to implement improvements in the future. You can find further information on our risk web pages and an HSE Audit Checklist is available.

The following general questions will help you to decide whether your approach to controlling legionella is working or whether it needs updating.

  • Is there a risk assessment in place for the system? 

  • Does the risk assessment contain a description of your system, eg an up-to-date schematic diagram of the system, showing what the system comprises including parts out of use? 

  • Does the risk assessment conclude that there is no significant risk?

  • If the risk assessment does identify a significant risk then:

    • Is there a written control scheme in place to address the risks?

    • Has a responsible person(s) been identified in writing?

    • Are the roles and responsibilities of all staff involved in the control regime clearly defined in writing and have they all received appropriate training?

  • If external contractors are used, are their roles and responsibilities clearly defined, in writing, and have you checked on the competence of the contractors/consultants and found it acceptable (eg experience and qualifications, training, membership of professional organisations or recognised trade body)?

  • Have you considered all other health and safety issues (eg COSHH assessments for handling of water treatment chemicals, working at height, working in confined spaces, electrical safety and ease of access to parts of the system)?

Some of the ongoing tasks that you may need to implement to reduce to risks:

  • Flushing of little used outlets

  • Temperature checks of the hot and cold water taps

  • Descaling, disinfecting and cleaning taps and showers

  • Inspections, temperature checks and cleaning of cold water tanks

  • Draining and descaling hot water cylinders

  • Water testing and analysis

The above list is not an exhaustive list of tasks that may be required and the frequencies may depend on the overall site risk. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a Legionella risk assessment be carried out?

The initial risk assessment will recommend the frequency and this can be determined by the overall risk and the complexity of the system. There are also other factors that can determine the need to do a review of the risk assessment which include:

  • Changes to the water system or its use;

  • Changes to the use of the building in which the water system is installed;

  • The availability of new information about risks or control measures;

  • The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective;

  • Changes to key personnel

  • A case of legionnaires’ disease/legionellosis associated with the system.

Is it a legal requirement to have a Legionella risk assessment? 

The health and safety law, property managers, landlords and business owners are legally required ensure their water systems are safe for everyone to use, this makes it necessary to assess and mitigate the risk of legionella within their properties or businesses.

Although there is no such thing as a ‘legionella certificate’, they must be able to provide evidence that they have carried out a risk assessment of their property and are taking every reasonable measure to control the risks and keep the employees, tenants, visitors and residents of their building safe.

Who can carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment?

There is no 'legal' requirement to determine who can complete a Legionella risk assessment however when dealing with health and safety risk assessments it's vital to ensure that the risk assessment is completed by someone who is competent and knowledgable on the subject they are assessing. This means being to prove that are competent. This is why most businesses employ the services of an expert to complete the risk assessment.

Once I've had a Legionella Risk Assessment completed do I need to do anything else?

Unfortunately lots of people assume that the risk assessment is a certificate to prove compliance however this is not true. The risk assessment highlights any potential risks and hazards that may cause harm to those using the water system and recommends various remedial actions to reduce or mitigate those risks. The risk assessment should be reviewed and actions should be implemented as recommended. More information about what a Legionella risk assessment is can be found here

Why Choose Bespoke Compliance Solutions?
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Fully compliant with the HSG274 and ACOP L8
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Our individual experience is over 10 years within the water hygiene industry
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Bespoke solutions that are specific for your premises and water system(s)
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Our friendly team will explain the entire process from start to finish
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Fast turnaround and quick reporting
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