Is a Legionella Risk Assessment Mandatory?

Is a legionella risk assessment mandatory in buildings that contain water systems and where people can be exposed to the bacteria via aerosols (droplets containing Legionella). These include hotels, restaurants, hospitals, commercial property, office buildings, skilled nursing facilities, and many other types of buildings and facilities.

A water safety risk assessment includes identifying the water system, reviewing environment factors (e.g. weather conditions) and risk factors of those who work in the building or facility, as well as any regulations that may be applicable to the industry or specific type of building/facility. The assessment will then identify potential sources of contamination within the water system and implement control measures to prevent growth and spread of the Legionella bacteria.

Demystifying Legionella Risk Assessment: What It Involves

Once the water safety risk assessment is completed a report will be provided to the responsible person (typically a building manager) along with a schedule of monitoring and testing. In the UK, the legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment is underpinned by primary health and safety legislation including the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 on the control of Legionella in water systems (and supporting Health and Safety Guidance LSG 274) provides further detail on what is required within a water safety risk assessment.

Landlords with simple, single dwelling properties may be able to carry out their own legionella risk assessment and can test their water supply themselves; however, for larger commercial systems that contain a range of different tenants and more complex water supply structures it is recommended that they engage an expert water management consultant to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date assessments are conducted. A professional can also take on the role of’responsible person’ and ensure that all audit findings are implemented, as well as carry out all necessary inspections and tests in line with the legal requirements.

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