Persons who own or have been tasked to manage commercial and rental properties are mandated by the Health and Safety at Work Act to conduct a Legionella risk assessment as part of an overall scheme to protect the public against exposure to Legionnaires' disease.

The mandate laid out by the Health and Safety At Work Act is supported by other documents including the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999, Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992, Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, and the Health and Safety Regulations 1996.

The Approved Code of Practice and Health Safety Guidance 274, on the other hand, serves as a clear guide for industry operators, employers and statutory duty holders regarding their legal obligations. It also details the necessary steps that need to be undertaken in order to comply with legislation; failure to adopt the guidelines increases the risk of exposure to litigation.

The risk assessment is comprised of several steps:

  • First, each room in the property should be carefully inspected.
  • Afterwards, the temperatures of the water from various areas in the site are taken to ensure that these are well within acceptable ranges.
  • The next step involves the inspection of the pipework and different components of the water system. At this stage, if there are potential risks, these are duly noted by the professional conducting the inspection.
  • After this, the inspector needs to see an overview of the connection and configurations of the pipework as it connects to various sources of water. Again, the inspector will take note of potential risks.
  • Using building references, the inspector then makes a detailed schematic of the property and identifies site assets.
  • Afterwards, the professional conducting the inspection will make the necessary recommendations that need to be enforced to minimise risks.
  • The inspector will also check whether the materials used in distributing water in the facility comply with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme or WRAS.
  • Finally, photographs of all the assets in the site as well as areas vulnerable to risks are taken.

 

The Approved Code of Practice mandates that the risk assessment be reviewed regularly or if there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid.
 
These include changes to the water systems or changes in the type of residents in a property, specifically those categorised as highly vulnerable to Legionnaires' disease.



Written by +Duncan Hollis, Aquacert