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Legionnaires’ Disease ACOP (Approved Code of Practice)


One of the “Bible” documents for Legionnaires’ Disease

In 2013 the HSE published “Legionnaires’ disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems” as an ACOP (Approved Code of Practice). This, together with HSG274 ae considered the “Bible” documents for Legionnaires’ Disease.

Basically as a  document, it is primarily for dutyholders, including employers and those in control of premises. This includes those with health and safety responsibilities for others. The aim is to help them comply with their legal duties in relation to legionella. These responsibilities include identifying and assessing sources of risk, preparing a scheme to prevent or control risk, implementing, managing and monitoring precautions, keeping records of precautions and appointing a manager to be responsible for others.

A further HSE document, Legionnaires’ disease A brief guide for dutyholders is aimed at employers and people in control of premises, eg landlords, where man-made water systems are used that could be a potential source for legionella bacteria growth. Available for free download


The current fourth edition of the ACOP and guidance on regulations contains revisions to simplify and clarify the text.

Indeed, the major change is removing Part 2, the technical guidance, which is now published separately as HSG274 and giving the following issues ACOP status:

HSG274 Part 2

The definitive “Bible” document for Legionnaires’ Disease

  • Risk assessment
  • The specific role of an appointed competent person, known as the ‘responsible person’
  • The control scheme
  • Review of control measures
  • Duties and responsibilities of those involved in the supply of water systems

Furthermore HSG274 gives practical advice on how to meet the legal requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 concerning the risk from exposure to legionella and guidance on compliance with the relevant parts of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Consequently, it is issued in three parts:

  • Part 1: The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems
  • Part 2: The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems
  • Part 3: The control of legionella bacteria in other risk systems

The complete hard copy edition of HSG274, including revised guidance on hot and cold water systems are available for free download

Author: Duncan Hollis