Legionella Risk Assessments - What you need to know

Legionella bacteria can cause harmful health conditions including the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease.

Our Legionella Risk Assessments are fully comprehensive assessments which provide a complete easy to understand breakdown. All our assessments come with full schematics.

The assessment highlights the risk of exposure and potential dangers and the steps that should be taken to reduce levels of bacteria where required. If there are specific requirements, a bespoke solution can be arranged.

Legionella bacteria is preventable as it can be kept under control by taking suitable precautions which is why there are penalties for businesses that do not take the required steps.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. The risk of exposure comes from inhaling droplets of water from things like air conditioning or hot tubs. It’s uncommon but it can be very serious. It’s usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply. It’s less common to catch it at home.

You can get Legionnaires' disease from things like:

  • Air Condensers and Humidifiers
  • Baths, Hot Tubs, Spa Pools
  • Air Conditioning Systems
  • Showers or Taps that are infrequently used

The Internal factors that can help Legionella bacteria growth?

Things that can happen on the inside of your building can be the start of a Legionella outbreak. Here is a list of the most commons reasons…

  • pH fluctuations
  • Inadequate levels of disinfectant
  • Scale and sediment
  • Water pressure changes
  • Stagnation
  • Biofilm

What external factors can help Legionella bacteria grow?

Things that can happen on the outside of your building. Here is a list of the most commons reasons…

  • Changes in municipal water quality
  • Construction
  • Water main breaks

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You cannot catch it from:

  • Drinking Water which contains bacteria
  • Rivers, Lakes or the Sea

What are the symptoms:

  • Problems with breathing
  • Pains in your chest
  • Continuous Cough
  • Symptoms like the Flu / Influenza
  • High Temperature

Landlord and Business Owners Obligation on Legionella Risk Assessments

Legionella Risk Assessments are required to be undertaken by business owners, hospitals & healthcare facilities, property managers and landlords in the United Kingdom to control the risk of legionella bacteria.

Unquestionably, from the point of inception, the Assessment Report should be considered a living document with an expiration date. We would advise all businesses to review their assessments every two years as a minimum requirement to highlight their risk of exposure.

However, it is important to note that the frequency should increase if changes are made to the water systems or there is a bacterial outbreak.

The required health and safety legislation in the United Kingdom covers this is as follows;

The Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/contents

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3242/contents/made

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/basics/index.htm

Health & Safety Executive: Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8.
https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l8.htm

Health & Safety Executive: HSG274: Technical guidance Parts 1, 2 & 3.
https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg274.htm

Department of Health and Social Care: Health Technical Memorandum HTM 04-01: Safe Water in Healthcare Premises.
https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/safe-water-in-healthcare-premises-htm-04-01//

Department of Health and Social Care: Health Technical Memorandum HTM 01-05: Decontamination in Primary Care Dental Practices.
https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/decontamination-in-primary-care-dental-practices-htm-01-05/

Legionella risk assessments for hospitals and healthcare organisations in the UK

Puretech Water Systems (Uk) Ltd provide water hygiene and treatment services to numerous care homes and hospitals across the United Kingdom. Hospitals and healthcare centres look after people who are at greater risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease.

The elderly and venerable including those with ongoing complex health conditions are unfortunately more likely to develop the disease if they are exposed to higher levels of Legionella bacteria.

It is a known fact that buildings with water tanks that have a complex hot and cold water systems which house the elderly or sick such as hospitals and care homes are also more likely to carry greater risks with having disused piping and equipment, storage tanks, taps and showers which can make it more difficult to control legionella bacteria.

Additionally, it has been scientifically proven that the demographic group of the over 50’s account for over 80% of all cases of people who are affected by Legionella bacteria. Therefore, the government have outlined an approved code of practice which means that a risk assessment is legally required to highlight all potential danger areas and list steps for combating them and minimising the risk levels.

Legionella risk assessments: Our Guidance

Generally, the larger the building the more complex the water system and the higher the risk of exposure. Consequently, it is important to understand that Legionella bacteria can cause a type of pneumonia to occur called Legionnaires disease. Significantly, the disease is known to be fatal. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that the associated checks and measures take place to minimise the risk of exposure. Legionella Risk Assessments highlight the potential risks and detail the steps that need to be taken to reduce the levels and to control legionella bacteria. The good news is that it  is preventable so long as the appropriate precautions are taken you can control the dangers of exposure.

Undoubtedly, larger sites with more complex hot and cold water systems (particularly sites with cooling towers) require routine testing. This testing should be carried out at least every three months. Regular testing serves as a litmus test that helps to establish whether preventative measures are working. In hospitals and healthcare facilities there are greater risks that come from disused pipe work (dead legs), storage tanks, point of use taps and showers and equipment.

How often should a legionella risk assessment be carried out?

The risk assessment is legally required and should be considered a living document and used to control measures for the risk management process. Therefore, we recommend to follow the safety at work act all businesses review their assessments at least every 24 months.

The frequency should be increased if there are changes to key staff, if changes are made to the water systems, if the water treatment programme fails, or if increased levels of bacteria are found.

Legionella risk assessments: The procedure

In the first place, we will check and analyse any existing material or schematics. In the final analysis, risks are classified by priority rating in the Risk Assessment we prepare. Thereupon, this rating system can be used to make executive decisions about what actions to take and how it is best for you to prioritise those actions. The Legionella Risk Assessment is the first steps to take to ensure that the building in question is made safe. Actions need to be carried out. This is something that Puretech Water Systems (UK) Ltd are able to assist with as we offer remedial works, pipe work alterations and tank cleaning and chlorination.

Risk Assessment Conclusion and Consultation

Puretech Water Systems (UK) Ltd are able to provide comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessments for small, medium and large facilities. As a company, we also have the ability to action engineered alterations and changes to systems should the assessment indicate that there is a requirement for action to be taken.

Contact us today to discover how Legionella Control can help you meet all your health and safety requirements. Put your mind at rest and making sure your premises and water systems are safe from the threat of legionella. Legionella test today and learn the control of legionella bacteria.

Call us today on 01622 871 877 to request a no obligation consultation with one of our experts.

Puretech's Legionella risk assessment training courses

If you wish to control the risk and carry out a legionella risk assessment yourself within your organisation, but don’t feel you have the necessary skills or competencies in your current work activity, you should consider undertaking legionella risk assessment training.

The Puretech Water Systems (UK) Ltd Legionella Awareness Training Courses are recommended training for the water responsible person on site. The course is available to other staff members as well. It is especially important that all staff are trained where on site temperature testing takes place.

Above all, these courses have a carefully designed syllabus specifically tailored to different working environments. The courses are intended for all members of staff on your site who are involved in water safety. Managers and Water Responsible personnel alike. The courses are hands on and are conducted and delivered on site. This is so working examples can be demonstrated and relevant questions can be asked by employees.

Our foundation course is applicable to the majority of businesses. We do offer advanced courses and bespoke courses for businesses with particular requirements. Sites which have Cooling Towers for example, require more specialised and specific training.

To Learn more about Legionella Control training or to book onto one of our training courses please look at our training course page by clicking the button below or alternatively you can contact a member of our staff on 01622 871877 who will be happy to answer any of your questions:

Benefits of our Legionella Risk Assessments

  • Ensures Compliance With UK Legislation & Law.
  • Provides Guidance Document & Advice For The Water Responsible Person On Site.
  • Helps To Establish Solutions & Suggests Remedial Works.
  • Bespoke Legionella Assessments Based On Buildings Water System Requirements.
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