Do you need to carry out a Legionella risk assessment at your premises or place of work, and how often do you need to have one? 
If your business has any kind of water system, including hot & cold taps, toilets, showers or something a little more specialised such as a cooling tower, then the answer is yes. The Health & Safety Executive’s ACoP L8 paragraphs 25 and 47 states that Legionella risk assessments should be reviewed regularly and whenever there is a change of circumstances that could affect the risk. 
It is highly important to recognise the potential risk of Legionella bacteria spreading and multiplying through any kind of water system and becoming a risk to people. 
What is Legionella? 
Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease. This is potentially a fatal form of pneumonia and is not contagious but can be fatal. 
Infection is usually transmitted through inhalation of aerosol containing the Legionella bacteria. The particles from infected water sources can become airborne when mechanical action breaks surface water causing water droplets to evaporate. Frequent sources of contaminated water can include air conditioners, showers, spas and water features and fountains. Legionella is often found in hospitals, hotels, prisons and cruise ships due to their complex water and cooling systems. 
Numbers of cases have risen, with the most recent figures showing 200-250 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year in the UK. 
Do I need to have a Legionella Risk Assessment? 
If you are a landlord, business owner or employ five or more people at your business, it is likely that under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act you will have a legal duty to ensure that any engineered water system that is part of your business is free from Legionella. 
You should keep records of any risk assessments and precautionary measures you take to prevent Legionella. 
According to various parts of health and safety legislation, the first step required is to perform a Legionella risk assessment. 
According to the HSE’s ACoP L8, your assessment should be reviewed whenever there is a reason to suspect it is no longer valid. 
This includes but is not limited to the following circumstances: 
Changes to the water system or its use; 
Changes to the use of the building in which the water system is installed; 
The availability of new information about risks or control measures; 
The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective; 
Changes to key personnel; 
A case of legionnaires’ disease/legionellosis associated with the system. 
GES Water have fully trained and competent water safety experts to carry out these assessments for you, offering you peace of mind and clarity. 
It is also possible for someone at any business to become fully trained and competent in conducting these risk assessments themselves and we offer a Legionella Awareness Training Course. See our shop for more details. 
You can contact us today to discuss the risk assessment your business may need and how often you may need one. With our expert assistance and advice, you can be sure your business will be safe and stay within the confines of the law. 
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