Health and Safety and Law

The Law

Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety at work of their employees and also to ensure that the health and safety of other people is not affected by their work activities.

They also have duties to prevent or reduce exposure to substances hazardous to health and to assess the risks to health from their use. Micro-organisms such as Legionella are defined as substances hazardous to health.

Below we look into the key legislation, guidelines, and British Standards that help you meet the legionella control requirements.

Legislation & Regulations

The list below identifies the law that require you to ensure legionella control is compliant. Important items are highlighted in yellow.

The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSAWA)

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH)

COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR)

The main duty placed on employers by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is to undertake risk assessments to identify potential hazards to employee health and safety and anyone who may be affected by their work activity.

The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations

Under the provisions of the Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992, you are required to register every cooling tower and evaporative condenser. However, you do not need to register if the cooling tower or evaporative condenser: contains no water that is exposed to air.

Guidance Documents

The ACoP L8 is the main legionella control guidance document that provides an overview of your legal requirements. The HSE 274, part 1-3 is the main technical guidelines to help you implement legionella control. All other documents cover legionella control in specialist areas.

INDG 458 Legionnaires Disease - A Brief Guide for Duty Holders

The INDG 458 simplifies the ACoP as a brief guideline for duty holders as the overall responsible person.

ACoP and Guidance L8

The ACoP L8 is aimed at duty holders, including employers, those in control of premises and those with health and safety responsibilities for others, to help them comply with their legal duties in relation to legionella.

HSG 274 Technical Guidance Part 1-3

The guidance gives practical advice on the legal requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 concerning the risk from exposure to legionella and guidance on compliance with the relevant parts of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The guidance is in three parts:

HTM 04-01 Safe Water in Healthcare

HTM 04-01 Safe Water in Healthcare gives guidance on the legal requirements, design applications, maintenance and operation of hot and cold water supply, storage and distribution systems in all types of healthcare premises.

HTM 01-05 Decontamination in Primary Care Dental Practices

Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 01-05 advice on patient safety when decontaminating reusable instruments in primary care dental practices.

HSG 220 Care Homes

HSG 220 Care Homes guidance is intended to help those providing and managing care homes – to give them a better understanding of the real risks and how to manage them effectively. It has been extensively rewritten, with a number of new topics, and brings together key messages on risks to both workers and residents. It will also be of interest to others working in social care.

HSG 282 Spa Pools

HSG 282 Spa Pools – systems are a recognised source of diseases caused by infectious agents including the organism that causes legionnaires’ disease, primarily Legionella pneumophila. There have been a number of outbreaks linked to spa pools in leisure centres, hotels, holiday homes, on cruise ships and on display.

British Standards

The British Standards Institution is the national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related services to businesses. 

BS 8580-1 Water Quality – Risk Assessments for Legionella Control

BS 8580-1:2019 Water quality. Risk assessments for Legionella control. Code of practice applies to risk assessments undertaken on premises, plant and systems and where control measures may have been implemented.


BS 7592 Sampling for Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems

BS 7592 – Standardised procedure for water and health and safety industry to follow for sampling in order to test water systems for the presence of Legionella including sample collection handling, transport and preservation.