Legionella Obligation

There is a legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment of the water services in any work place or business connected premise! If you choose not to follow the HSE’s ACOP, and you do not carry out a legionella risk assessment to cover the water services in your work place then you may be exposed to risk of litigation and potential prosecution should a situation occur in your building or office space. If you would like to book your Legionella risk assessment, contact us.

The Health and Safety Executive is the Enforcing Body, who will undertake any prosecution under the relevant legislation with regards to legionella infection.

Whether you have a rented, serviced, or managed office there is still a legal obligation upon you as the employer to protect your employees!

Legionellosis is a very old disease, but the first recognised and documented cases were in America in July 1976. It got the name Legionnaires’ Disease from the people who first contracted it – a group of American legionnaires. Doctors and scientists originally believed the illness was an outbreak of severe pneumonia. Legionellosis is a term for any disease caused by Legionella bacteria. This includes Legionnaires’ disease, which is the most serious of these illnesses and can be fatal. There are other forms of the disease which have similar symptoms but are less serious.

Legionnaires’ disease is NOT transmitted from person to person. It cannot be acquired by drinking infected water. It can only be acquired by inhaling droplets which allow the bacteria to reach the lungs directly.

The legionella’s risk assessment identifies the pipework and individual assets – such as water tanks, showers and taps – that make up the water system and evaluate the risks associated with each element. The risk assessments are reviewed at least every two years, unless there has been a change to the system or in management/responsible person.

Duties relating to the regulations below extend to cover the risk from legionella which may arise from work activities!

  • The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations (1992)
  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations or RIDDOR (2013)
  • The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974)
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002)
  • The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations (1977)
  • The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations (1996)

There are further pieces of technical guidance and support documentation, although not all may apply to your business. These include:

  • Approved Code of Practice L8 (Fourth Edition)
  • Health Technical Memoranda 04-01 (Part A, B C & Supplement D 08)
  • Health & Safety Guidance 274 (Part 1, 2 & 3)

Legionnaires’ disease tends to affect:

  • Men more frequently than women
  • Middle-aged or the elderly more than younger people
  • People who are already ill, particularly with chest or respiratory diseases, or kidney disease
  • Smokers and heavy drinkers

For further information or to book your Legionella risk assessment, contact us.


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