When deciding if you need a legionella risk assessment for your business, the first thing to establish is if you are operating any kind of water system in the building. That could be as a simple as hot and cold water operating taps and toilets or something more complex such as a water cooling tower. In any case – if you operate a water system of any kind you need to understand the legislation and make sure the necessary risk assessments and safety measures are in place.
Legionella risk assessment and control
In the UK the guidance for legionella control is defined by the health and safety regulations laid out in the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8. The guidance covers 5 key areas:
- Risk assessment
- Appointing a responsible person to manage legionella control for the premises and outlining the duties of that role
- The control scheme
- Review of control measures
- Duties and responsibilities involved in the supply of water systems
UK Legionella risk assessment legislation
Employers and landlords have a legal duty to ensure buildings under their responsibility are assessed to ensure employees and tenants are not exposed to the bacteria which could lead to an outbreak of legionnaire’s disease.
The initial assessment will check that conditions on the premises will not encourage bacteria to develop. For example, the risk assessment will be checking that water temperature remains between a set parameter. Temperatures of between 20-45 ºC are suitable for growth of the bacteria, therefore, the assessment will be looking for colder or hotter temperatures as a measure of control. Following the initial assessment, control measures will need to be put in place. A key part of the control measures will be ongoing monitoring of the premises to ensure the water system remains within the acceptable parameters necessary to reduce the risk of legionella bacteria developing.
Records of the assessments should be kept and a responsible person appointed to manage the assessments and the records of results. The record of assessment should be maintained a living document and not a one-off record to file away.
So now we’ve established the answer to the title in the blog – yes you need a legionella risk assessment. What next? You could keep your own records but often it will be necessary to appoint an assessment company to manage and maintain the risk assessment and the ongoing maintenance reviews.
Keeping and maintaining a system of record as a living document is made easier if the system is recorded digitally and in real time in an electronic logbook. If an assessor adopts a digital first approach and can offer an electronic logbook they can dramatically reduce the reporting time on risk assessments and this brings many benefits:
- Records are captured on site in real time on mobile devices
- Results are instantly available to all stakeholders and action can be taken swiftly where improvement actions need to be taken
- An electronic logbook ensures all records are easily accessible at any time
Read our guide to a Digital Approach to Legionella Risk Assessment
Going digital can reduce reporting times by up to 50% – ready to learn more? Book a call with one of our advisors for a brief informal chat and see if Velappity is the right solution for you.