So what is a Legionella Risk Assessment? It’s a detailed report on the building’s water system, an investigation to establish if there are areas where the conditions are conducive to encourage bacterial growth. The report will consider whether the present regime to minimise the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease is sufficient, robust and technically sound. If not it will provide the recommendations necessary to achieve compliance.
Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious Legionnaires’ Disease. It also covers the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaires’ Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. The risk increases for people over 45, smokers and heavy drinkers. Plus people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, lung and heart disease or anyone with an impaired immune system.
Legionella pneumophila is the strain of the bacteria which makes the headlines since it can and does cause fatalities. Legionella bacteria is common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs; it may be present in the mains supply in small numbers and remain harmless but given the right temperature and a sufficient food supply (for example, sludge, rust, scale or algae), Legionella bacteria can proliferate and contaminate any water system.
As an employer, or a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. You must understand how to:
- Identify and assess sources of risk
- Manage any risks
- Prevent or control any risks
- Keep and maintain the correct records
Carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment is a legal requirement. You may be competent to carry out the assessment yourself but, if not, AquaCert can do this for you. We can help you or the person responsible for managing risks, understand your water system and its’ associated equipment.
The Risk Assessment should include:
- Management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person(s)
- A full description of your water system and associated equipment
- Details on the competence and training of key personnel
- Any identified potential risk areas
- Actions to be taken to prevent the risks
- Actions in place to control risks
- Monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures
- Records of the monitoring results, inspections and checks carried out
- A schematic diagram of the water system
The Risk Assessment should be reviewed regularly and if any changes are made to the water system within the property which affects the overall risk level. This is very valuable for people who have responsibility for the building, allowing them to design, implement, and manage precautions, record these precautions and designate a responsible person.