Do all work places need a legionella risk assessment?
10th May 2012
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Thank you to Gas Water Heating for this informative blog on what types of business need a Legionella Risk Assessment

The HSC approved code of practice for legionella (L8) applies to ' any undertaking involving a work activity and to premises controlled in connection with a trade, business or other undertaking where water is used or stored and where there is a means of creating and transmitting water droplets which may be inhaled, thereby causing a reasonably foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria '.

Some good examples of commercial premises would include gyms with showers, sports clubs, swimming baths, hotels, beauty salons and spray tanning salons etc.

In short - if you have water on site that people can be exposed to, you need to assess and manage the risk from legionella bacteria.

Q What do I need to do after the legionella risk assessment?

The legionella risk assessment will either find the site to be either low or negligible risk, in which case a simple review of the assessment should be made every 2 years, or it may be that a reasonably foreseeable risk is identified. In this instance, remedial work may be recommended together with a programme for continual monitoring and control (see what site monitoring will I need to do?).

Q What site monitoring will I need to do?

The required level of monitoring will depend on the plant and water services at the site, and Gas Water Heating can tailor make programmes for the management of legionella to suit the property. Typically, a standard office with simple domestic welfare facilities would require monthly monitoring of water temperatures, annual inspections of cold water storage tanks and an annual review of the management programme. In addition, water services that are used infrequently would need to be flushed weekly.

In situations where water is used in a process or a cooling tower or evaporative condenser is in operation more frequent and in-depth monitoring would be required.

Q How often should I carry out a legionella risk assessment?

According to the HSC approved code of practice for legionella (L8), the assessment should be reviewed regularly (at least every 2 years) and whenever there is reason to suspect that is no longer valid, for example:

» where there have been changes to plant, the water system or its use;
» where there have been changes to the use of the building;
» where new information about risk or control measures has become available;
» where monitoring indicates that control measures are no longer effective.

Q What are the regulations that govern legionella control?

The two main pieces of legislation are the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulation (1994). Companies that fail to comply with government guidance may be prosecuted under either of these regulations.

Q Who is most at risk at work?

It is impossible to tell who most at risk is just by looking at people, as many conditions that could increase the risk are not visible. Generally speaking though, those who smoke, drink excessively, are overweight, and anyone with an underlying illness that affects their immune system may be more at risk. The elderly are the most vulnerable members of the population.


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