Is there a law which states Legionella testing is mandatory?
The law is clear that if you are a landlord then you have legal responsibilities to make sure that your property is safe and free from hazardous elements, including the Legionella bacteria, so that your health and safety is not compromised. The same is true for employers and other duty holders who are in control of certain premises and are responsible for the health and safety of others.
Having said that, Legionella testing or some other form of microbiological monitoring is not usually required for domestic hot and cold water systems, except for very specific circumstances. Care home and other facilities where residents are likely to be at high risk of infection need particular consideration. You can reference the HSG274 Part 2 regarding this.
Meanwhile, the case is different for employers and business owners. The same guidance indicates that risk assessment, prevention of exposure to hazardous substance, and control of said exposure, which all involve testing, are legal requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Other related legislation includes the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Do I need a Legionella risk assessment using Legionella testing kits?
According to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, general duties extend to risks from Legionella in the course of work activities. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 includes risk assessment in the framework of duties designed to assess, prevent, and control the risks from hazardous substances, including Legionella.
Duty holders need to appoint or hire somebody who is trained in the use of Legionella testing kits for the efficient identification and assessment of Legionella risk sources. It doesn’t stop there. The same person or team will also take care of managing those risks, preventing and controlling them, keeping records, and carrying out any other related legal duties.
In relation to the domestic setup, it’s still strongly recommended that landlords carry out risk assessment and record their findings. Even if the HSE and local authority inspectors do not proactively inspect domestic premises or demand that landlords provide evidence that they have undertaken risk assessment, a formal record will come in handy in case a tenant contracts Legionnaires’ disease. It’s a way to demonstrate in court that they had fulfilled their legal duty.
Is it difficult to test for Legionella bacteria in water with a Legionella testing kit?
With AquaCert’s legally compliant Legionella testing kit, it’s not difficult at all. There are only three steps to testing water for Legionella using the kit. The first step is to fill the sterile bottles included in the kit with water from your hot taps and showers. The second step is to inform us that the samples are ready so we can pick them up in the supplied bag in the kit and take them to our lab. And the last step is to wait for the results, which will be delivered to you as soon as they come out of the lab.
How long before I get my Legionella test results from your Legionella testing company?
It should not take a long while to detect harmful elements such as Legionella bacteria in water samples. Traditionally the water samples are incubated for a minimum of 10 days, however if you need instant answers, then the latest technology allows for a rapid screening method, our labs can have the test results ready in less than four hours and you can be assured that the water test results are completely accurate. We will deliver the results to you as soon as possible. It can be done on the same day you sent out the samples, or the following day; this would depend on the volume of samples the lab is handling and the speed with which the lab can get to your samples. You will not have to wait long.
The test result comes with detailed interpretation from the lab personnel and our technical service team. If the interpretation states that bacteria levels are high, the appropriate course of action is also provided in order to prevent further contamination and exposure.
Do I get an official Legionella test certificate?
Yes. This is part of the service package that our Legionella testing company provides to the users of the kit. We will send the results certificate out to you via post.
In addition, we will also update our database with your test results. You can have a password to view your analysis certificate online, which is helpful if you misplace or lose the certificate we send to you.
Plus, as part of the service package, you will also receive reminders via email, fax, or post regarding the schedule for your next Legionella test. You may not have the bacteria in your water now, but this is no assurance that the bacteria will not occur in your water system in the future; after all, Legionella bacteria are naturally occurring organisms.
Do I need to test my water for bacteria using a Legionella test kit?
A Legionella test is not required in all situations, neither is it considered essential for domestic water systems. The Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce a Legionnaires’ testing certificate.
It should be noted, however, that landlords have the responsibility to ascertain whether there is a risk of exposure to the Legionella bacteria and to enforce control measures against the bacteria.
Testing or the collection of samples is not required in all domestic and cold systems. However, there are a few circumstances wherein testing may need to be done.
Broadly speaking, Legionella testing is well within the duties of landlords when it comes to ensuring the assessment and control of the risk of exposure to Legionella. Testing may also be conducted in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the control measures that are currently in place.
How often the test should be conducted will depend on two main factors: the type of system that is used in the property and the result of the risk assessment. For properties with open cooling systems, testing should be conducted on a quarterly basis. For hot and cold water systems which are enclosed and not exposed to the elements, the testing should be conducted when there is reason to believe that the control measures are ineffective or when temperatures and biocide levels have not been consistent.
How long will the Legionella test take?
After water samples have been collected, these need to be cultured in the laboratory for 10 days in accordance to UKAS and HSE requirements. Generally, testing can last between 12 and 13 days after the water samples were collected, taking into account the checking and verification of results.
What will I need to do?
First, you will receive your Legionella test kit which contains bottles along with a "Courier Pick Up Request" sheet at your nominated address.
After that, you will need to collect water samples using the bottles you receive. You will then need to fill up the "Courier Pick Up Request" sheet and fax that back to us. We will handle the organisation and payment of the courier.
Upon receipt of the fax message, a courier will pick up the filled bottles along with the "Courier Pick Up Request" sheet which are placed in the courier bag.
The courier will then deliver the samples to our laboratory for analysis.
If the results of the analysis are positive, you will receive instructions about the remedial actions that you will need to undertake. The results certificate can be sent to your office or direct to you, depending on your preference.
The results will be added to our database. You will also receive your own password so that you can view the analysis certificates online.
Finally, you will receive a reminder about when the next test is due.
How often will I need to use Legionella test kits to do a retest?
Routine monitoring for the presence of Legionella should be carried out at six monthly. It may need to be more frequent for various reasons, such as in the event of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, when you establish a new water treatment program, or when a property or establishment in close proximity has tested positive for Legionella.
A retest is necessary if your water sample comes back positive for Legionella. The retest is important to verify the initial result, trace the source of contamination and, once corrective action has been carried out, to ensure that the efforts have worked. Specific resampling and retesting standards should be followed according to the standards set by HSG 274.
The frequency and scope of retesting depends on various factors including the type of system and the level of bacteria found in the system. In line with our aim to make Legionella testing easier and simpler, when you use our Legionella test kits, you’ll receive a reminder from us via email, fax or mail about the schedule of your next assessment.
How many Legionnaires’ testing kits do I need to order?
The number of Legionnaires’ testing kits you need will depend on the type of your property or facility and the number of hot water systems, taps and showers in the building. Our testing kits are designed to be as simple to use as possible, allowing you to easily find exactly what you need. Check out our full range of water quality testing kits to see which kit applies to you. Better yet, get expert and customised advice from our water quality testing kits experts by calling 0800 048 1737.
How can your Legionnaires’ testing service help me prove that my premises have tested for Legionella bacteria?
Employers, landlords and those tasked to manage premises are expected to be able to properly manage and control the risks of Legionella in their system. We know that keeping records is an important component of proper risk management, so we make it easy for users to obtain an analysis certificate and other information about their results that they receive as a part of our Legionnaires’ testing service.
The test results provided to you will contain key information including the bacteria levels found in your sample and the remedial actions that our water quality experts recommend according to your results. Your results certificate will be sent via post to your preferred address. It is also updated into our database and made viewable online via password for easy future reference.
Will you remind me when I need to repeat Legionella testing?
Yes. Sending you a reminder about when your next Legionella testing task is due is the last step of our water testing service. You can choose for this reminder will be sent to you through email, fax, or by post.
Can I order a Legionnaires' test kit online?
Yes. Our website lets you browse through our wide range of water testing products, all designed and developed to provide simple and effective solutions to water quality. We are committed to helping you find the right Legionnaires' test kit to suit your specific location or application.
We offer other related products and services as well.
Our product categories include:
1. Water Testing Kits and Legionella Water Testing Kits for use in:
• Water systems
• Sports and leisure facilities
2. E-learning Training Courses which include the following:
• Basic Legionella Management
• Fire Marshall
• Basic Fire Safety Awareness
• Asbestos Awareness
• Working at Height
• Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
3. Thermometers for water testing
• Clip-on pipe thermometers
• Dual sensor memory thermometers
• Digital probe thermometers
• Therma Elite digital thermometer
• Showerhead Plus and Showerhead Plus Gel for descaling and sanitising shower heads and plumbing fittings
Should I be doing anything to prevent Legionnaires' disease?
There are things that you can do to prevent yourself and members of your household and the public from developing Legionnaires' disease:
• Maintain the proper water temperature. Cold water must be kept below 20C or and hot water stored above 60C to prevent the growth and proliferation of Legionella bacteria.
• Get a competent person to perform routine checks, inspections and cleaning of the water system.
• Remove all stagnant water within a property. Do this by removing all dead ends or dead legs in pipework and flushing out (every week at the least) any outlets like taps and showerheads that are not frequently used.
• Clean, descale and disinfect hoses and shower heads at least quarterly. Use a product such as Showerhead Plus which is proven to clean, disinfect and descale in one simple application.
• If you fit the description of individuals with a high risk of contracting Legionnaires' disease, you should actively avoid water systems that could be potentially contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
• When travelling to foreign countries, do research on the risk of Legionnaires' disease in the location and consult your physician regarding the correct way to address symptoms of the infection that may emerge.
• Have water samples from your water system routinely analysed to determine whether the Legionella bacteria count is acceptable. The frequency with which you should perform water testing will depend on the level of risk determined by the risk assessment conducted on the property.