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What is a Legionella risk assessment

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What you need to understand about a Legionella risk assessment...

All businesses in the UK, regardless of their size is legally required to carry out a regular legionella risk assessments to identify potential hazards and to keep employees, customers, and others safe.

Legionella risk assessments are a crucial part of legionella control that work to identify possible dangers and set out the precautionary measures that should be taken in order to rectify them.

All landlords, employers, owners, managers and operators of commercials premises such as - hotels, offices, stadiums, healthcare, education and social housing, have an obligation to understand and manage the Legionella risk within their properties.

It is their responsibility to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, visitors, employees and residents is properly assessed and controlled by undertaking and completing regular Legionella Risk Assessments of all water systems.

Legionella bacteria is considered to be ‘preventable’ because when reasonable precautions are taken it can be kept under control and there are stiff penalties for businesses that do not take the required steps. In the event that there is an outbreak of legionnaires disease at a property which you manage, own or are in charge of, you will need to be able to provide tangible evidence that you took every reasonable measure within your power to reduce, manage and control the risk of legionella exposure. You will be required to provide the relevant authorities with proof of the appropriate legionella control measures you have taken which will include an up to date risk assessment as well as records of all water system maintenance, monitoring and testing.

Failure to be able to provide sufficient evidence of your attempts to control the risk of legionella exposure can have severe consequences including legal action, substantial penalties and in some cases, a prison term.

Is your property at risk from Legionella bacteria

There is a risk of Legionella in almost every building which operates hot and cold water systems, but unlike 

other Health & Safety issues such as fire safety and asbestos, it can often be overlooked by those in charge. Underestimating the potential risks can have severe consequences for yourself and anyone who uses the building so it is important to understand what you need to do and why legionella risk assessments are a crucial to ensuring that your properties water system is safe.

Some of the key things that can make buildings more vulnerable or at risk of legionella include;

Complex water systems – Domestic cold water systems for example present a relatively low risk for legionella, However, properties with bigger or more complex water systems often found in large commercial buildings pose a much greater risk.

Optimum Conditions –Certain types of water systems are more likely to provide the incubation conditions needed for legionella bacteria to multiply. This includes hot and cold water systems, spa pools, vehicle wash systems, safety showers, sprinklers, fountains, water features, spray humidifiers, cooling water systems, cooling towers, evaporative condensers and any type of system that contains water within which Legionella could breed and become aerosolised.

 

System materials –Thequality of materials used in a system can have a significant effect on its legionella risk. Materials which are prone to deterioration can release impurities such as limescale, rust or algae into the water which can act as a nutrient for the legionella bacteria, encouraging multiplication. This is why for older systems it is important to ensure that parts which show any signs of corrosion or deterioration are renewed or replaced as quickly as possible.

Recent Legionnaires' Disease Outbreaks & Non Compliancies leading to prosecutions

Leading Legionnaire’s expert claimed cash-strapped firms were deliberately falsifying safety logs and said the practice could have devastating consequences.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2154997/Legionnaires-disease-outbreak-2012-reaches-80-cases-Health-secretary-admits-source-traced.html#ixzz4LYi2MWzS

£1.8M Fine For LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE risk at G4S site

https://www.ioshmagazine.com/ps18m-fine-legionnaires-disease-risk-g4s-site

BUPA Fined £3M over care home residents LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE death

https://www.ioshmagazine.com/bupa-fined-ps3m-over-care-home-residents-legionnaires-disease-death

Sentinel Healthcare Legionnaires death care home fined

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-55092312

Council pays £27,000 over Legionnaires' case that put leisure centre users at significant risk 

 

https://www.ioshmagazine.com/council-pays-ps27000-over-legionnaires-case-put-leisure-centre-users-significant-risk

Hotelier fined £30,000 for health and safety offences

 

https://www.colchester.gov.uk/info/cbc-article/?catid=latest-news-june&id=KA-02053

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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