Legionella is a common bacterium found in natural environments including ponds, rivers and lakes. The bacteria can also be supplied in small counts within mains water supply. Where there is water and the conditions of creating water droplets (aerosol), people using or within the area of these services may be at risk.
Legionnaires Disease is a form of pneumonia, which can be fatal. The most at risk are the very old and the very young, the ill and smokers to name a few. Legionella bacteria can also cause other, less harmful illness such as Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever, which can affect all people.
The main route of infection is through inhalation, by inhaling airborne water droplets that contain Legionella. It cannot be spread from person to person. The majority of cases or outbreaks of the disease have been via domestic water services, evaporative cooling towers, and spa pools.
What are the factors required to create a risk of Legionnaires’ disease?
- The presence of legionella
- The presence of population vulnerable to exposure
- A means of creating aerosol
- Suitable conditions for Legionella to proliferate
- Lack of control & management measures
Conditions and contributing factors to legionella growth include:
- Temperatures between 20-45°C
- Available nutrients (including: sediment, biofilm, algae, scale, rust, material, etc.)
- Presence of biofilm on surfaces of water
- Poor or in adequate management including training and awareness
How to achieve legionella compliance?
As an employer or a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella.
You must understand how to:
- Identify and assess sources of risk
- Manage any risks
- Prevent or control any risks
- Keep and maintain the correct records and carry out any other duties you may have.
Take our online legionella awareness training course today.
When is a legionella risk assessment required?
“Duty holders should arrange to review the assessment regularly and specifically when there is a reason to suspect it is no longer valid. An indication of when to review the assessment and what to consider should be recorded and this may result from, e.g.:
- A change to the water system or its use;
- A change to the use of the building where the system is installed;
- New information available about risks or control measures;
- The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective;
- Changes to key personnel;
- A case of Legionnaires disease/legionellosis associated with the system”
What are the legal workplace requirements?
Duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) extend to risks from Legionella arising from work activities. In addition, harmful micro-organisms (biological agents) are subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and Amendment 2003 and 2004 (COSHH) and management responsibilities – The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).
The Approved Code of Practice 2001 (ACoP) (L8) Legionnaires’ disease: the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems provides practical guidance with respect to the HSWA regulations 2, 3, 4 and 6, COSHH regulation 6 and MHSWR regulation 3 and has been approved by the Health & Safety Commission with the consent of the Secretary of State. The code should not be regarded as law; however, in the event of prosecution, it is likely that a court will employ the Code in defining acceptable standards.
The ACoP places responsibility on employers to:
- Identify and assess risks from Legionella.
- Manage the risks, including the appointment of a person or persons to take managerial responsibility and to provide supervision and training of personnel.
- Avoid the use of systems that give rise to a foreseeable risk of Legionella, or where this is not practicable, prepare a written scheme of precautions.
- Keep appropriate records.
The origins of legionella
The disease was first identified in 1976 after an outbreak at the convention of the American legion in Philadelphia where over 220 people were infected resulting in 34 deaths.
Since then, numbers of cases have slowly risen with latest figures showing 200-250 reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year in the UK.
The risk of contracting the disease from a contaminated water source is minimised by following the Approved Code of Practice by the HSE (ACoP L8) and HSG 274.
Do uRisk service my area?
Yes, uRisk’s services are nationwide. Whether you have one or multiple water systems and one or multiple sites, uRisk provide services to the nationwide, with engineers scattered throughout the UK, with offices based in Hertfordshire, a 30 minute train journey to London King’s Cross.
Head Office: uRisk, Units 11-12 Baldock Industrial Estate, London Road, Baldock, Hertfordshire, SG7 6NG.
Are uRisk qualified?
Yes, all of our Legionella Risk Assessors at uRisk are Legionella Risk Assessment qualified and accredited by City & Guilds and can help assist you in meeting compliance today for HSE (ACoP L8). uRisk is Safe Contractor and Construction Online approved so you can rest assured that you are working with a trusted water hygiene service provider who put health and safety first.
All uRisk engineers are DBS Checked to ensure suitable people are entering your premises and to safeguard vulnerable people.
Our booking process
Get a Quote
To get a quote you can phone, email or complete our ‘Get a Quote!’ form to receive a quotation within 24 hours.
Book an Appointment
Once you’re happy with your quote we’ll confirm a suitable date and estimated time of arrival for your appointment.
An engineer will be with you on your scheduled date, and will call you prior to arrival (when safe and possible).
Report & Support
Our team will quality assess your report for PDF distribution, typically within 2-10 days of the site visit.
All payments are due prior to booking completion unless agreed in writing for 30 days from the date of invoice. We will hold your booking time for 24 hours whilst we wait for payment.
Why choose uRisk?
25 Years Experience
Over 25 years of water hygiene and legionella control experience.
Customer Service Excellence
Friendly and simple advice by phone, email & online at your convenience.
City & Guilds Qualified
All staff are trained water hygiene consultants and engineers.
With engineers located all across the UK, we’re never too far away.
UKAS Accredited Testing
Our labs are UKAS approved providing you with quality assurance.
Full Compliance Services
Your one stop shop for legionella control, no need to go elsewhere.