Plumbing, Cold Water & Hygeine
Legionella Risk Assessment
Commercial businesses are required by law to assess their water systems for Legionella bacteria risks and to protect people from exposure to these risks. Employers should carry out surveys of their plant, systems and equipment and act on recommendations for remedial work that is found to be necessary. Regular reviews of these risk assessments are also required.
Legionella safety risk assessments are required on all water systems, including mains cold water systems, water storage, pumps, pipework, showers and cooling towers.
Our experienced water safety professionals can carry out tests and full risk assessments and advise you on all aspects of your water systems throughout Yorkshire, and help to keep you safe and compliant.
Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a serious form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. In a commercial water system, such as a building’s hot water system, cooling tower, or spa pool, Legionella can grow and multiply if the water temperature and other conditions are suitable. When contaminated water is inhaled, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease, which can be severe or even fatal, particularly for people with weakened immune systems. Therefore, it is important for commercial water systems to be regularly assessed for Legionella risks and for measures to be taken to control the growth of Legionella and reduce the risk of exposure to contaminated water.
What is a Legionella Risk Assessment?
A Legionella risk assessment is a process of identifying and assessing the Legionella risks in your workplace, so that you can put controls in place to minimise the risks to employees, customers and other people who may be exposed. As part of a Legionella risk assessment, our experts will first check your previous records and see if there is anything that needs to be acted upon, or that hasn’t been repaired from previous inspections.
The purpose of the assessment is to identify the sources of Legionella growth, the likelihood of exposure, and the risk to public health.
A typical Legionella risk assessment includes the following elements:
- Water system identification: The first step is to identify the water systems in the building, including hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, spa pools, and other systems that may be at risk of Legionella growth.
- Water temperature assessment: The temperature of the water systems is measured to determine if conditions are suitable for Legionella growth.
- Water storage and distribution: The assessment includes an evaluation of the water storage and distribution systems, including the materials used, the conditions of the systems, and the likelihood of stagnant water.
- Maintenance and cleaning: The assessment considers the maintenance and cleaning practices of the water systems and the potential for contamination.
- User assessment: The assessment considers the likelihood of exposure to Legionella, including the populations that may be at risk, such as the elderly, the young, and those with weakened immune systems.
- Record-keeping: The assessment includes a review of the records and procedures in place to manage the water systems, including the maintenance and cleaning schedules, water quality testing, and staff training.
- Recommendations: Based on the findings of the assessment, recommendations are made for documenting and controlling the risks associated with Legionella, such as regular water temperature monitoring, improved cleaning and maintenance practices, and the implementation of water treatment methods.
Common Legionella Sources
Legionella bacteria pose a significant risk in commercial settings, primarily through water systems and cooling towers. These environments provide ideal conditions for Legionella growth and dissemination. Water systems, including pipes, taps, and showers, can become breeding grounds if water remains stagnant, allowing biofilms to form where bacteria thrive.
Cooling towers, used in air conditioning and industrial processes, aerosolise water, and this can spread the bacteria into the air. To control Legionella, stringent measures are essential. Regular monitoring of water temperatures is crucial, plus consistent cleaning and disinfection routines, along with the removal of sediment and scale, prevent biofilm formation.
Establishing comprehensive maintenance protocols for plumbing systems, ensuring proper ventilation of cooling towers, and conducting routine inspections contribute to effective prevention. An integrated approach that combines temperature control, cleaning, disinfection, and vigilant upkeep is vital to curbing the proliferation of Legionella bacteria and safeguarding public health in commercial premises.
At Robinsons Facilities Services, we can work with you to carry out a full water safety risk assessment, studying your systems and operations to establish a programme of surveys and Legionella control work to ensure you are fully compliant.
We can design a risk assessment program that is sensitive to your ongoing operations in terms of minimising disruption, and we can work with your employees to educate them on findings and ongoing checks. This is all documented and left with you as evidence of compliance and is updated as regular surveys take place.
What Does a Legionella Risk Assessment Cost?
The cost of Legionella risk assessments can vary depending on the size and complexity of your water system, but we offer competitive rates for our services, all while providing a thorough and efficient service.
To get an idea of the legionella testing cost for your premises, contact us today for a no-obligation quote.
Legionella Risks and Legal Compliance
Legionella monitoring and risk assessments are a legal obligation for commercial premises. The industry standard dictates that your Legionella risk assessment must be updated at least every two years, but there are circumstances where you may need more regular updates.
If the water system changes, or pipework or system assets are added, then you will need a further Legionella risk assessment carried out. Also, you may need more regular checks if the premises is a place where a lot of vulnerable people are situated, such as a medical facility or a home for the elderly.
A Legionella outbreak can have devastating consequences, so it is important to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to minimise Legionella risks in your workplace. We can also offer legionella training and other forms of water sampling. If you have any concerns about Legionella in your business premises, please get in touch with our team today. We will be happy to advise you on all aspects of Legionella risk assessments and visit your Yorkshire-based premises.
At Robinsons Facilities Services, we have dedicated professionals who are highly trained, accredited and experienced in water safety risk assessments and Legionella control.
Our team of experienced water safety professionals are stationed across the Yorkshire region and can deliver to you the most trusted and reliable water safety risk assessments. We can identify control measures to minimise Legionella exposure and risk and leave you with the comfort and knowledge that you are fully compliant on a routine basis.
Call our Yorkshire head office today on 01423 226578 to arrange an appointment for a Legionella risk assessment.
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Legionella Risk Assessment FAQs
The L8 Approved Code of Practice outlines the requirement for premises to assess the risk of exposure to legionella. This is a responsibility in both domestic and business premises, so if you own or operate a business premises, ensure that there is a risk assessment.
The regulations say that the person completing the risk assessment should be a “competent” individual. While this isn’t explicitly outlined it is fair to say that a good knowledge of health and safety regulations and water hygiene is essential.
If legionella bacteria is present then the only reliable way to detect this is through testing. Your risk assessment should outline a procedure for testing regularly as well as preventative measures.
Your commercial premises need to be inspected and risk assessed at least every two years. There are certain situations when an assessment is required sooner. High-risk buildings such as care homes may need more frequent checks due to the vulnerable people on site.
There are around 300 to 500 reported cases in England each year, so it is not hugely common, but it is still very serious, which is why there are strict legionella rules.