Insights: Water Hygiene and Testing
Do you need a Legionella risk assessment?

If you own, manage, or occupy a building and have responsibility for any services providing or using water, then you have an obligation to consider, assess and manage the risk from Legionella and other water-borne pathogens. 

The health and safety of people in your business are paramount, and Legionella bacteria are a significant risk that can cause severe health conditions including the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria thrives at temperatures between 20c and 50c and therefore ensuring that cold water stays below 20c and the hot water is above 50c is one of the key control measures in water hygiene.

The use of water treatment techniques to control Legionella growth is especially important when water becomes stagnant, as water stagnation encourages biofilm growth, reduces water temperatures to levels that allow Legionella growth, and reduces levels of disinfectants.

What are the legal requirements?

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 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 detail by the Health and 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.

Who is responsible for carrying out legionella testing?

As an employer or a person in control of premises, you must appoint a person or persons responsible for helping you manage your health and safety duties and take responsibility for managing risks. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety, including the control measures. If you decide to employ contractors to carry out your risk assessment or other work, it is still the responsibility of the competent person to ensure that the work is carried out to the required standards.

What does the assessment cover?

The purpose of carrying out a risk assessment is to identify and assess any risks in your water system and it should include:

  • Management responsibilities, including the name of a competent person and a description of the water system
  • Potential sources of risk
  • Any controls in place to control risks
  • Monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures
  • Records of the monitoring results, inspections and checks carried out
  • Arrangements to review the risk assessment regularly  

At Compliance group, we apply a risk-based approach to provide a tailor-made report, with dedicated specialist teams that are best suited to your working environment.  We provide a unique service to commercial and industrial organisations, government and public bodies and we are recognised experts in Legionella risk management and water hygiene. Our capabilities include Legionella risk assessments and compliance audits, monitoring and control, water sampling and testing and private water supply risk assessments. For more information on our services contact our expert team at info@compliancegroup.uk.

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