Legionella Risk Assessment

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Published: 14/10/2015   Last Updated: 14/10/2016  
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Prior to 1st October, landlords are required to carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment on any rental property. Legionnaires disease is an illness caused by bacteria that is common in natural (rivers and lakes etc.) and artificial water systems (storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers) and if exposed to tenants can be fatal. Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.

Legionella risk assessments are now a statutory legal requirement under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, in exactly the same way that annual gas safety certificates are a statutory legal requirement under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998. There seems to be a general misconception that gas safety checks are mandatory, but legionella risk assessments are just ‘best practice’, but this is not the case.

An assessment can be carried out by a ‘competent’ person. A ‘competent’ person does not need to be a contractor, and can be ‘someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience’ in understanding how legionella bacteria grows, how it becomes a risk, and what steps can be taken to reduce the risk. If you wish to carry this out yourself we suggest you follow the guidance of The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm. Alternatively if you wish to organise for a specialist water treatment company please contact Suzana in Property Management for more information on 0208 995 1600 or suzana@andrewnunnassociates.co.uk.

Should the assessment show the risks are low and are being properly managed, no further action is needed. Should the assessment show the risks are high, immediate action should be taken. It is important to review the assessment regularly in case anything changes in the system.