What is Legionella and are there any risks in my workplace?

Any water system, with the right environmental conditions, could be a source for legionella bacteria growth. There is a reasonably foreseeable legionella risk if your water system:

  • Has a water temperature between 20–45 °C
  • Creates and/or spreads breathable droplets, eg aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets
  • Stores and/or re-circulates water
  • Likely to contain a source of nutrients for the organism to grow, eg rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms

The most common sources of legionella are in man-made water systems including:

  • Cooling tower and evaporative condensers
  • Hot and cold water systems
  • Spa pools

Duty Holder Responsibilities

If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, including landlords, you must understand the health risks associated with legionella. Carrying out a risk assessment is the responsibility of the employer. You may be competent to carry out the assessment yourself but, if not, you should call on help and advice from either within your own organisation or from outside sources, eg consultancies.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, you or the person responsible for managing risks, need to understand your water systems, the equipment associated with the system such as pumps, heat exchangers, showers etc, and its constituent parts. Identify whether they are likely to create a risk from exposure to legionella.

Is it a legal requirement to have a Legionella risk assessment?

There is a legal duty for landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria, but they are not required to conduct a professional assessment or test. Legionella is something that every business should be informed about. Risks should be assessed, and appropriate action taken. We believe it is imperative to ensure your water supply is safe.

At Alpha Compliance training we offer an affordable course to help you create your own Legionella Control program or help you make informed choices when commissioning an external company to deal with Legionella Management.

If you have any questions please get in touch with us.

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