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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Your Legionella Risk Assessment: The Essential Elements

A legionella risk assessment is something that is required to ensure that those responsible for the legionella management within a building are doing all they can to make it safe. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has created UK health and safety legislation which means that all employers must consider the risks associated with legionella bacteria and take any action needed to reduce or eliminate those risks.

It would be impossible to do this without a risk assessment in place. But just what are the most important elements of a risk assessment? Knowing that yours is correct and has included all the required information is a big part of getting this part of the health and safety system right and of being compliant.

Assessing The Risk

There are a number of pieces of legislation that underpin the need for a legionella risk assessment. These are:

· The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002

· The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)

· The HSE’s Health and Safety Guidance HSG274: Legionnaires’ Disease Technical Guidance

Key Elements Of A Legionella Risk Assessment

Although each risk assessment will be carried out differently, depending in the preferences of the expert hired to do it, and although each risk assessment might look different from the next, there will be many elements that are the same, no matter how they actually look in the report that you receive. These are:

· An evaluation of the assets onsite

· A report on the condition of the water systems within the building or buildings covered by the scope of the assessment

· Temperature checks from various outlets within the building

· Photographs to document issues and location of tanks/calorifiers/other assets

· A schematic to show the layout of the water system

· A final list of recommendations to be carried out to ensure compliance

Additional Information

The best risk assessments will include plenty of information to help the employer and responsible person as well as the basic elements mentioned above. For example, a good risk assessment will talk about who the most vulnerable people are in the building in relation to legionella. For example, in a hospital there will be patients with immune system issues.

There should also be an indepth description of the hot and cold water systems. It should detail whether they are mains fed or from stored water, or a combination of the two systems.

Are there any additional areas of risk that aren’t covered by the scope of the risk assessment? If so, it is good to see them mentioned, even if the responsibility for them isn’t something you need to deal with. Look for mentions of showers, deadlegs, valves being installed incorrectly, and whether any areas of the building are ever left empty for extended periods of time.

Your Risk Assessment

When you need a legionella risk assessment carried out, it is best to use a professional to do the work for you. They will know exactly what to look out for, and won’t miss any important information. They will also be able to go through the risk assessment with you and ensure you understand what the risks are and how to reduce or eliminate them. Assured Water Hygiene can do all of this for you, and if you want to see examples of our previous risk assessments (without any identifying information) please just ask.

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