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As its name implies, a Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA) entails evaluating the potential risk of legionella bacteria in specific premises. It is also mandated by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as a legal requirement. Our professional assessment services provide thorough inspections of cold water systems, as well as hot water systems, air conditioning units, and other relevant systems. We conduct comprehensive physical and administrative examinations that ensure the competence and authority of our assessments in the UK. We also offer testing, training, and cold control services to help our clients prevent or manage risks associated with legionella bacteria. Trust us to safeguard your premises and protect your employees and customers.

History of Legionella Risk
Legionnaires' disease was a renowned emerging infectious disease, one of the earliest to be recognised. It was first reported in 1976, and the cause was identified a year later. In 1976, The Lancet featured a news item under the caption 'Plagues and Pestilences, documenting a lethal "mysterious illness" that affected many delegates attending the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia.

Legionnaires' disease is a serious health concern in the UK.
One major outbreak in Staffordshire Hospital in 1985 claimed 28 lives, while in 2002, 180 people fell ill, and seven died in Cumbria. An investigation found that such outbreaks can be prevented with proper risk management. Water management issues and the absence of chemical treatment and system checks were implicated in these and other outbreaks. Therefore, preventative measures and water management are vital to protect public health from Legionella disease.

What is Legionella?

Legionnaires' disease is an acute and potentially life-threatening pneumonia-like illness caused by the "Legionella bacterium". This Legionella bacteria can flourish in natural water sources such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. While the bacteria rarely affect people when present in small numbers, they can pose a significant risk when found in purpose-built water systems, including hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, evaporative condensers and residential places such as tanks, pipes, baths and shower heads. Moreover, they can even become airborne via droplets or mist, causing pneumonia-like illnesses.

And remember, Legionella bacteria thrive in temperatures ranging from 20°C to 50°C. To limit the risk of Legionella in hot and cold water systems to ensure cold water stays cold (50°C). Ensure that your water systems are maintained professionally to prevent the spread of Legionella bacteria and minimise the risk of contamination.

Though there is often confusion about the responsibility for managing the risks of this bacteria, It represents a substantial hazard to the health and safety of individuals residing in any type of building. Landlords, however, have a duty of care to ensure the well-being of their tenants, and an integral part of fulfilling this responsibility involves the comprehensive management and minimisation of legionella hazards by carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment, which is crucial for maintaining building occupant's safety.

Therefore, it is mandatory for landlords or managing agents involved in property rental to conduct a Legionella risk assessment before initiating or changing a tenancy. This essential assessment ensures the identification and evaluation of any potential risks associated with Legionella bacteria, safeguarding the well-being and safety of tenants.

The deadly impact of Legionella bacteria

Be warned!: Research indicates that Legionnaires' disease peaks during the summer and early autumn when external temperatures typically reach their highest points. Nevertheless, cases of this disease can happen throughout the year, emphasising the need for continuous vigilance and preventive measures regardless of the season.

This disease is widely recognised as preventable by various health and safety authorities globally. Only when maintenance and other control measures are neglected or not properly carried out, or when regular testing is neglected, does Legionella have the opportunity to increase and spread to the degree that poses a risk to individuals.

How often should you perform a Legionella Risk Assessment (LRA)?

In general, it is advisable to perform a Legionella Risk Assessment approximately every 2 years unless any significant changes occur within the water system. Regular assessments help ensure the ongoing evaluation of potential Legionella risks, allowing for timely identification and implementation of necessary control measures to maintain the safety and well-being of individuals.

If you're responsible for a building with no history of Legionnaires' disease, or if it's your first assessment, we advise conducting a Legionella risk assessment every one to two years.
However, if your records show at least one outbreak within the last five years, a yearly assessment can help safeguard against the risk.

Is there a law related to landlords and Legionella?

There are two types of Legionella Risk Assessments conducted in the UK

Domestic Legionella Risk Assessment

Commercial Risk Assessment

For domestic properties
For most domestic properties, which won't require any expensive testing or sampling, a landlord can assess the level of risk themselves with some diligent research.

As a landlord,
It's a legal duty for landlords to ensure their tenant's safety and well-being are not at risk, helping to maintain a healthy environment. The likelihood of Legionella risk in this particular property type is exceptionally minimal.

This is primarily attributed to the regular usage of most taps within the property, resulting in a consistent flow of water that facilitates continuous water turnover. To further mitigate the risk, it is imperative to maintain hot water systems at an operational temperature of 60°C (or 50°C for instant delivery heaters). Any redundant pipework that may create stagnant areas should be eliminated, ensuring the absence of dead ends within the system.

When conducting a legionella risk assessment in larger properties, it is crucial to consider the frequency of usage in individual rooms.

For instance, a guest bathroom may only be utilised intermittently when visitors are present. Suppose the guest bathroom has an independent hot water supply. Under such circumstances, prioritising water safety becomes paramount. So, the water should be heated to an operational temperature exceeding 50 degrees Celsius before initiating the flushing process with the hot water taps.

Water outlets such as taps and showers that are infrequently used can provide an ideal breeding environment for legionella bacteria. In such situations, establishing a flushing protocol in cooperation with the occupants or tenants is recommended to mitigate this potential risk. Opening these little-used taps once a week will help flush out the water system and reduce the proliferation of bacteria.

By following these practices, the risk of legionella contamination can be effectively minimised in larger properties.

For commercial properties
Conducting a thorough legionella risk assessment for every commercial premise in the UK is imperative to comply with existing legislation. Failure to do so might entail immediate site closure and severe consequences, including prosecution and imprisonment in the unlikely event of an outbreak. As a responsible business owner, prioritising the safety of your patrons and employees should always be a top priority.

Contact us today. We are ready to help you with Legionella Risk Assessment services.

Who can conduct a Legionella Risk Assessment?

If you're in charge of your commercial premises, you should appoint a competent person to assist you in performing your health and safety responsibilities. The Health and Safety Authority states that the person you appoint should possess the necessary expertise and have the expertise to effectively oversee health and safety, including the implementation of control measures. You could take on the role yourself, choose one or more of your workers, or appoint someone outside your organisation. Or else, you should hire a registered specialist company from the Legionella Control Association.

At serviceteam, our team of Legionella testing and water hygiene specialists possesses extensive expertise in this domain. We are committed to thoroughly investigating the property to ensure a comprehensive assessment. Following the completion of the testing process, we will meticulously prepare a detailed report outlining our findings and identifying any necessary remedial measures required to ensure compliance with regulations. Our diligent efforts aim to prevent any future occurrences of Legionella contamination, guaranteeing the safety and well-being of the premises.