Legionella compliance is cool
The cooler winter and spring months are an ideal time to make sure that your water system is healthy and that you have an up to date legionella risk assessment. Get compliant now and you are less likely to have problems when the warmer weather comes – legionella bacteria loves warm weather and tepid water.
How do you know if your legionella risk assessment is out of date?
If you have made any changes to your water system, such as adding or removing a tap, shower head or other water outlet, you must have a new risk assessment. This is because the major contributing factor for a legionella outbreak is from static water within the pipework system. Adding or removing an outlet can change the flow of water, creating what we call a ‘dead leg’ – an area in which water stops flowing freely. Nobody sets out to generate a dead leg, but you can unwittingly form one through a simple piece of plumbing, so if you make any alterations at all, you must carry out a new risk assessment.
Less well known is that if you have a change of manager for your property, you must also update your risk assessment. It is not enough to assume that your predecessor’s assessment is still valid. If you are the property manager, or the Responsible Person, it is your legal duty to control and prevent legionella. You will also be responsible in law if there is a legionella outbreak – so you must satisfy yourself that your risk assessment is current.
Legionella bacteria causes the potentially fatal ‘flu-like illness known as Legionnaires disease. For a fit, healthy adult, this is a serious and debilitating illness, but for the elderly, the very young and anyone with an underlying health condition, it can be fatal. The legal consequences for failing to prevent a legionella outbreak are appropriately serious – up to and including a custodial sentence for the Responsible Person, and limitless fines for the organisation.
Water systems must be compliant with L8, the Approved Code of Practice and guidance on Legionnaires’ disease, issued by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). If you have any doubts at all that your system is compliant, you should call in experts like our teams. Once you are compliant, ongoing monitoring for legionella is relatively simple, and we can train your team to do this yourself.
These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does my property have an appointed Responsible Person for legionella compliance?
- Has the Responsible Person changed since our last legionella risk assessment?
- Have we made any changes to the pipework since our last legionella risk assessment?
- Are any of our taps, toilets and showers ever left unused for more than a week?
- Are any unused outlets flushed regularly?
- Are our water tanks clean, sound and free from ingress by rodents or insects?
- Are our water tanks sufficiently shaded from solar gain?
- When were our water tanks last cleaned or checked?
We can help you ensure that you are L8 compliant. Call us on 0800 243471, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation quote for our legionella prevention services.