Why get a Legionella risk assessment and how often is it needed?

What is Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionella is the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is dangerous and life threatening to people. Infection is caused by inhaling airborne droplets or particles containing viable Legionella. Legionella bacterium is found in some UK water supplies and certain processes increase the risk of the bacteria developing.

Why have a Legionella risk assessment?

Having a Legionella risk assessment prevents the risk of staff or the public from contracting these diseases through your business’s water. The assessment makes sure your water is safe and provides evidence your business is complying with UK Legionella regulations. Those in breach of regulations face substantial fines and are at risk of causing illness or death.

How often do you need a legionella risk assessment?

There’s no set period for reassessment because mitigating the risk of Legionella should be treated as an ongoing activity. It’s your business’s responsibility to make sure regulations are being met. The Health and Safety Executive state that you need to review the assessment regularly, particularly when there’s reason to believe the original assessment is no longer valid. You can view the full guidance here.

What makes a business at risk?

Any business that produces or is exposed to water droplets, for instance steam, are at risk. The risk is particularly serious for businesses that employ or work with vulnerable people, including elderly people or young children.

Which businesses need testing?

Some examples of at-risk sites are factories producing steam, companies with cooling towers, and large manufacturers with hot and cold water services. The types of businesses that need testing include laundries, clothing and textile manufacture, food manufacture, and chemical manufacturing. Public and leisure facilities such as schools, swimming pools, and gyms may require testing.

How would a business know they needed a Legionella risk assessment?

If any area of their site has the potential to produce steam and the business does not have a current risk assessment or controls in place, they should get a Legionella risk assessment as soon as possible.

If a business had a previous assessment but procedures have changed, they should get reassessed. Even if there have been no significant changes, you should get a Legionella risk assessment every few years to make sure the required regulations are still being met.

Talk to us about a Legionella risk assessment

We hope this has answered your questions on Legionella risk assessment and how often they need to be reviewed. For advice specific to your business, contact us today on 0113 232 0005 or sales@excelwater.co.uk.