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Legionella Risk Assessment

Legionella is a common Bactria that resides in water. It can be found naturally in environmental waters such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs but also in our domestic & commercial water supplies. Legionella bacteria can survive in a wide variety of environmental conditions and have been found in water temperatures between 6 and 60 degrees C. Stagnant water, sludge, scale, algae and biofilms are all perfect habitats for legionella to exist.


How can it affect someone?

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, however, the risk is increased in those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immunosuppression, smoking etc. Some people may not develop pneumonia but will develop flu-like symptoms. To contract legionnaires’ disease, infected water must be inhaled from water vapours or aerosols.

Legionella Risk Assessment

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 1999 require that you follow ACOPS (Approved Codes of Practice) L8, in which it states

 “The Approved code of practice applies to the control of legionella bacteria in ANY undertaking involving a work activity and premises in connection with 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 reasonable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria”

In a Legionella risk assessment, the following will be undertaken:

  • Condition report on cold water storage tanks, potable water systems, calorifiers and hot water cylinders
  • Schematic diagrams of potable water systems showing all inlets and outlets, identifying any dead legs
  • Schedule of water outlets and temperature profiles
  • Legionella risk assessment carried out in accordance with Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L8
  • Comprehensive recommendations report
  • Water samples and analysis of the cold water storage tanks are recommended.

Do all Places of Work Require a Legionella Risk Assessment?

YES! All places of work do require a legionella risk assessment. The HSE Approved Code of Practice for The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems(L8)applies to any business where water is used or stored (for example sinks, taps, showers, water tanks, toilets, hot and cold water supply) 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. This will include care homes, hotels, guest houses, spa’s and leisure centres, dental and GP surgeries, health care premises, NHS, schools, universities, colleges and all commercial, manufacturing and distribution sites. If you have water on site that people can be exposed to, you need to undertake a Legionella Risk Assessment and manage the risk from legionella bacteria.

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