Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessment

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places all responsibility on employers, employees and the self employed to ensure the safety of staff, clients and anyone affected by their work.

Legionnaires Disease risk assessments are an important part of the duty of care responsibility of businesses that use water.

It has been established that poor management of water systems has been one of the prime reasons for the deterioration of water quality, which can lead to the formation of the Legionella bacteria.

For this reason, Legionella control is vital and a positive effort is required by all parties concerned with the maintenance of water systems to set up a water hygiene management scheme.

legionella bacteria

The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems: ACoP L8
In order to provide a practical guideline on this matter, The Health and Safety Commission in 2000 produced an Approved Code of Practise and Guidance ‘The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems’ L8. (ACoP L8). This gives advice on how to comply with the law and also has a special legal status.

If a person or company are prosecuted for a breach of Health & Safety Law and it is proved that the relevant provisions of the ACOP have not been followed, then the court will find the person at fault, unless it can be proved that the law has been complied with in some other way.

ACoP L8 Covers Key Topics Relevant To Water Systems
The subjects covered by the ACoP L8 that are relevant for all types of water systems, are as follows:

  • Identification and Assessment Of Risk
  • Managing The Risk, Management Of Responsibilities, Training And Competence
  • Preventing Or Controlling The Risk From Exposure To Legionella
  • Record Keeping
  • Responsibilities Of Manufacturers, Importers, Suppliers And Installers

In order to comply with the first requirement of the ACOP, and to make a valid decision as to whether there is a potential risk from any water system, it is essential that a risk assessment is carried out to establish the site conditions.

Once this risk assessment has been completed, it then becomes the responsibility of the management of an establishment to comply with the remaining sections, and manage the system so that the risk from Legionella is minimised.

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