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Is a Legionella Risk Assessment a Legal Requirement?

If you’ve not heard of Legionella disease, it might be difficult to understand why you may need to ensure a Legionella Risk Assessment has been conducted at your property or business premises. Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, it is a legal requirement for businesses and landlords.

A Legionella Risk Assessment identifies potential areas where they may be legionella contamination. It will also set out the right practices and protocols that need to be implemented to monitor and control any level of risk. But what is legionella and what does the risk assessment involve?

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a bacterium that is found in natural water sources, like ponds, lakes, and rivers. Legionella can also be found in manmade water systems, like pipes and heating systems. When the bacteria thrives and lives in the water, it can be hazardous to human health.

There are three elements that when they come together in a water system, legionella is likely to be present and thrive. They are:

  • Temperature – below 20°C, the legionella bacteria will be dormant, i.e., it is present but doesn’t grow, and above 50°C the bacteria is killed. However, water between these temperatures provides the ideal environment.
  • Nutrients – like all living things, they need nutrients to survive the legionella bacteria feeds off the types of materials you will find in unused natural or manmade water sources, like sludge, rust, scale and biofilms (these are a collection of microorganisms).
  • Stagnation – manmade water sources, like pipes, which haven’t been used for a while or ponds and lakes that don’t have flowing water, can create the perfect environment for legionella to grow and thrive.

What is Legionnaire’s Disease?

Legionnaire’s Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that occurs when the legionella bacteria is inhaled into a person’s lungs. This happens when water contaminated with the bacteria is released into a spray, such as showers, cooling towers, spa pools or hosepipes.

Legionnaire’s Disease can often be misdiagnosed as the symptoms are like those of flu or a bad cold. Those that may be more susceptible to Legionnaire’s Disease include:

  • People with a kidney or chronic respiratory disease.
  • Heavy drinkers and smokers.
  • People that suffer from diabetes, heart, or lung disease.
  • People with a compromised immune system.
  • People aged over 45 years.

Once diagnosed, Legionnaire’s Disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, it’s important to receive treatment as soon as possible for the best chance of recovery.

Why do I need a Legionella Risk Assessment?

According to the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, it is a legal requirement for any business owner, employer, property manager or landlord to ‘assess, mitigate and consider’ the risk of Legionella within their business premises or rental property.

At Swiftclean, we provide a comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessment that includes:

  • An introduction and background about Legionella.
  • Your site details.
  • Legionella Management Documentation audit.
  • Condition survey reports of domestic water plant.
  • Temperature profiling.
  • Photographic evidence.
  • Asset Register.
  • Identification of risks that includes, but is not limited to, dead leg pipework and little used outlets.
  • Recommendations for the monitoring, control and management of water sources for Legionella.
  • Basic schematic of plant and distribution.

We would also recommend that Legionella assessment reports are regularly reviewed and updated. It’s important to understand the threat of Legionella and the harm it can cause to people, and children, if found in a property or business premises. Switftclean is one of the leading trade, business, and commercial Legionella Risk Assessment companies in the UK. All risk assessments are conducted by experienced, knowledgeable professionals who can guide you at every step. To find out more about our Legionella Risk Assessments, contact one of our team today.