At Water Wise Services we have been helping our customers for well over a decade. Based in West Yorkshire we have offices across the United Kingdom. Our service team are all qualified professionals including Risk Assessors, Energy Assessors, Consultants & Engineers. M Over the years we have become a well-known brand within the water related industry and are recognised as specialist contractors, experts and professionals in our field. We have also achieved recognition and membership of several governing and trade bodies due to our high standards of quality, technical competence and experience.
Do customers, tenants, service users, the public or employees have access to a property that you control? Can other people be affected by what you are doing? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then you need to act to control & prevent Legionella bacteria.
If you are in charge of or responsible for a property and even if you work from home then you may have an obligation under Health & Safety law to have a Legionella Risk Assessment carried out, as well as carrying out other preventative measures. These requirements are found in the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Act (COSHH) 2002 & The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Failure to do so can lead to unlimited fines with a starting point of £10,000, prosecution and even imprisonment, the Crown Prosecution Service have even previously authorised charges of Corporate Manslaughter for deaths related to Legionella failures. In support of these Health & Safety legal requirements the HSE has published the Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8.
The Health & Safety Executives Approved Code of Practice
for the Control of Legionella Bacteria ACOP L8, BS 8580-1
In November 2013 the Health & Safety Executive released the 4th edition of the Approved Code of Practice for the Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems commonly called ACOP L8. The Code of Practice has been approved by the HSE with the consent of the Secretary of State. It gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. If you follow its advice you will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which the Code gives advice. The Code of Practice has a special legal status. If you are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the Code of Practice, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a Court may find you at fault.
The Health & Safety Executive have also released technical guidance documents
HSG 274 Part 1 The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Evaporative Cooling Systems
HSG 274 Part 2 The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Hot & Cold Water Systems
HSG 274 Part 3 The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Other Risk Systems
HSG 282 The Control of Legionella & Other Infectious Agents in Spa-Pool Systems
In January 2019 the British Standards Institute published the updated British Standard BS 8580-1 for Water Quality. Previously released in 2010 the update brought the standard into line with the 4th Edition ACOP L8. BS 8580-1 is in effect nothing more than a rewording the ACOP L8 & HSG274/282.
What is Legionella Bacteria?
Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria, it is normally only found in low quantities which presents little risk. However, in hot & cold-water systems, air conditioning and even in soils & composts the bacteria can grow and in larger quantities the various strains of Legionella bacteria can present a risk to life. The bacteria thrive in temperatures of between 20c and 45c. If inhaled Legionella bacteria can cause one of several diseases all of which can be fatal including Legionnaires Disease.
The potential of this bacteria is so serious that the HSE publishes a monthly legionella report which is freely available on the HSE website. In recent years we have seen a mortality rate of around 8% but as high as 40% in more susceptible groups, that is a higher mortality rate than some cancers.
Why Choose Water Wise Services
As a Duty Holder or person in charge of a property it is your responsibility to ensure that anyone who undertakes work on your behalf is competent to do so. Failing to ensure your service provider is competent can still leave you liable to fines and prosecution even when nothing goes wrong. Water Wise Services have become one of the leading Legionella Service providers in Yorkshire and the surrounding regions carrying out Legionella Risk Assessments, UKAS Accredited Legionella Testing, Legionella Training and Legionella Control & Prevention work. We have over a decade's water industry related experience and;
Hold the Government Endorsed TrustMark for Legionella
City & Guilds Accredited & Stroma Certified for Legionella
NVQ and City & Guilds Level 2 & 3 Qualified Plumbers
Water Industry Approved & Water Safe Registered
Members of the Water Management Society and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering
Do you not need to be a member of the Legionella Control Association (LCA) to carry out Legionella Services? In short no you don't. It is commonly believed that in order to carry out Legionella Services you must be a member of the LCA, they are not the official or governing body for Legionella as many people believe. The LCA are used as an example in the ACOP L8 paragraph 83 of an organisation that uses a code of conduct for service providers. The Health & Safety Executive do not endorse or recommend the LCA or any other competent person scheme for Legionella.
We have chosen to be members of the TrustMark scheme who also have a code of conduct and are the only Government Endorsed Technical Competence scheme. As members of TrustMark our customers can demonstrate they have done everything possible to ensure all work is carried out in a competenct manner.
Common Questions & Answers
If I work from home why would I need a Legionella Risk Assessment?
If you work from home you don't automatically need a risk assessment, it depends on the nature of your work and who may be affected. For example, you maybe just based from home, have no employees and customers never come to see you, in this case you would not need a risk assessment. You may however have customers come to your home, for example, if you are a child minder or beauty therapist, in that situation, you have health & safety obligations to your customers and would need a Legionella Risk Assessment.
We have a Combi Boiler, we don't need a risk assessment, do we?
A combi boiler is generally low risk but yes you still need a risk assessment. The ACOP L8 does not allow for any exemption.
What happens if I don't have a Legionella Risk Assessment?
Very simply you can be fined, prosecuted and even imprisoned. If you are regulated by the CQC, BMA or Ofsted you can be put into special measures and even shut down. Not having a Legionella Risk Assessment in place could be seen by the courts as a health & safety breach which could result in fines starting at £10,000 and could run into the millions under new sentencing guidelines.
Why would we need our water testing?
You may not need your water tested at all. The risk assessment (if carried out competently) will assess if there is a need for testing. Some environments should be tested on a regular basis whilst others may never need to be tested at all. Our remote temperature monitoring system can help eliminate the need for testing.
Is the ACOP L8 law?
No, it is not a law, but it is approved by the Secretary of State and as such it does have a legal standing. It is similar to the Highway Code, if you break the Highway Code you are not prosecuted under the terms of the Highway Code you are prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act that the Highway Code supports.
Private rented properties don't really need a risk assessment, do they?
Previously no they did not need one but with the release of the 4th edition of the HSE ACOP L8 all domestic rented properties are required to have a valid Legionella Risk Assessment in place regardless of the level of risk, type or size of the property.
Our Health & Safety Advisor say's we don't need a risk assessment!
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that you do not need a Legionella Risk Assessment. Most employers and buildings have a requirement to provide toilet and washing facilities at the very least. If you have water, you need a Legionella Risk Assessment.
We had a Risk Assessment carried out a few years ago and it said we are Low Risk and do not need to do anything else?
The ACOP L8 part 2 section 10 states it is a legal requirement to keep risk assessments up to date. Section 14 states "If the risk assessment concludes there is no reasonably foreseeable risk, or the risks are insignificant and are managed properly to comply with the law, the assessment is complete. Although no further action may be required at this stage, existing controls must be maintained. The assessment of risk is an ongoing process and not merely a paper exercise." The ACOP L8 also explains risk assessments should be reviewed at least once every 2 years. So, when you are assessed as being low risk it is not true that you no longer need to do anything.
Can we do our own risk assessment?
Yes, you can, but you must be competent to do so. If you carry out your own Legionella Risk Assessment and it is not carried out in a competent manner, then you may breach health & safety law.
A contractor did our risk assessment, it's not our fault if they did it wrong, is it?
As a Duty Holder it is your responsibility to assess the competency of anyone involved in Legionella on your behalf. If the contractor was not competent then you could be held to account.
How do we know what control & prevention work is required?
The required tasks and frequencies should be identified in the risk assessment. If your risk assessment does not include this information then it is not complete. The required tasks should also be specific to the site and not just a copy of the tasks listed in the ACOP L8.
How do we know if control & prevention is working?
Taking samples and testing for Legionella is the most effective way. Anyone who carries out the required tasks should be competent enough to monitor if the measures are effective.
We have less than 5 employees, so this doesn't apply to us does it?
Yes, this does apply to you, having less than 5 employees means that you do not need the same formal procedures and record keeping requirements of bigger organisations, but you are still required to meet the same health & safety standards.
We are run by volunteers, a sports club, a charity, do we need a risk assessment?
Yes, there are no exemptions. All organisations must consider health & safety.
Why would we need training?
The HSE'S ACOP L8 has identified that a lack of training and refresher training is a major factor in Legionella related incidents. Lack of training and inadequate training has also recently been a factor in Health & Safety prosecutions.