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Legionella Risk Assessment – All The Information You Require

Updated: May 18, 2023

Legionella Risk Assessment - All the information you require

According to the HSE’s ACoP L8, all water systems require a legionella risk assessment. Typically, domestic hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, and any other man-made water system has a reasonably foreseeable risk from exposure to legionella bacteria. It is expected that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is performed to identify and assess any risks and precautions required. If you have 5 or more employees, the risk assessment must be recorded.

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

As a Duty Holder you have a legal obligation to ensure risks are identified and suitably managed, this includes exposure to legionella bacteria. Failure to do so could lead to prosecution under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Do residential Properties need a risk assessment?

It is generally easier to keep the risks from legionnaires’ disease under control in residential properties however the landlord is still required to ensure a suitable and sufficient legionella risk assessment is undertaken.

Should a risk assessment be reviewed?

Yes. It is expected that a legionella risk assessment is reviewed regularly. The duty holder is responsible for implementing this. It should also be reviewed if there are an y changes to personnel, the system, or the use of the system.

How often should a legionella risk assessment be reviewed?

According to the HSE’s ACoP L8, a legionella risk assessment should be reviewed regularly. The frequency can depend on the inherent risk of the water system and the demographics. For example, a site with a cooling tower adjacent to a hospital may be more at risk than a domestic property with residents in generally good health.

Who can carry out a legionella risk assessment?

The person responsible for performing the risk assessment must be suitably trained and competent to do so. A risk assessor would generally be a consultant who has suitable experience, knowledge, and relevant qualifications. They may be a member of a professional group such as the water management society.

What is included in a legionella risk assessment?

A legionella risk assessment will typically include the following:

  • Review of the management controls

  • Review of training and competence

  • Survey of all relevant plant and equipment

  • Areas of the water system not in use or temporarily not in use

  • Asset register of associated plant and other relevant items

  • Assessment of the legionella risk factors

  • Review of the scheme of controls

  • Remedial actions

  • A schematic diagram

  • Calibration certificate for the thermometer used

  • A CV or overview of the risk assessor to demonstrate competence.

A legionella risk assessment is required wherever there is a water system present. It is a legal requirement to have one and it must be reviewed on a regular basis; this includes landlords. The risk assessment should be suitable and sufficient, and performed by someone suitably experienced and qualified. The risk assessment will be in depth and include all relevant sections to adequately survey, ascertain risk and suitably manage the risks arising from legionnaires’ disease.

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