Trust Mark Certified Specialists
Water Wise Services LTD is proud to be one of the few businesses in the UK to have achieved the Government Endorsed TrustMark for our Legionella Services. The not for profit TrustMark Scheme was developed in 2005, in conjunction with Government, industry and consumer protection bodies. The scheme ensures it's members are fully vetted to ensure Technical Competence, Good Customer Service & Good Trading Practices.
Do customers, tenants, service users, the public or employees have access to a property you control? Can other people be effected by what you are doing? If the answer is yes to either of these questions then you need to take action to prevent Legionella.
If you are a Landlord, Letting Agent, Employer or 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.
BUPA fined £3,000,000 plus costs of £151,482 by Ipswich Crown Court for Legionella related death and failures including of training - June 2018
Water Wise Services are Legionella specialists offering practical advice and solutions to our customers for over a decade.
The Health & Safety Executives Approved Code of Practice
for the Control of Legionella Bacteria ACOP L8
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.
G4S fined £1,800,000 by Chelmsford Crown Court for Legionella failings plus costs of £34,000 for failing to ensure employee safety- Sept 2016
The Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8 contains the code of practice L8 and Technical Guidance HSG274 parts 1, 2 & 3. Previously the ACOP L8 was two separate documents, the code of practice L8 and a single technical guidance document. In 2013 the technical guidance was split into three. This was done to ensure that the requirements of the ACOP L8 and HSG274 were carried out in a competent manner. Before the 4th Edition there had been several instances where the risk of Legionella had not been assessed correctly and the wrong control & prevention steps had been implemented.
Legionella outbreaks often occur because of a lack of understanding and misinterpretation of the ACOP L8 & HSG 274. To be competent anyone involved in assessing, testing, training or the control & prevention of Legionella bacteria needs to be able to demonstrate their understanding of the ACOP L8 & HSG 274. At Water Wise our service team are not only City & Guilds Accredited for Legionella but we are one of the few Legionella Services providers in the UK to meet the Government Endorsed Trust Mark standard.
What is Legionella? Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria, it is normally only found in low quantities. 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.
JTF Wholesale fined £1,000,000 by Stafford Crown Court for Legionnaires related outbreak in one of their stores - July 2017
What Happens If I Breach the ACOP L8? If you breach the ACOP L8 you can be fined, prosecuted and even go to prison. In September 2016, new sentencing guidelines for health & safety failures were issued to the courts. The new guidelines set a starting point of a £10,000 fine for a minor breach with a potential jail term. The level of fines and potential jail terms rise in severity up to unlimited fines and several years in prison for the most serious offences, the Crown Prosecution Service have even previously authorised charges of Corporate Manslaughter for deaths related to Legionella failures.
Faltec fined £800,000 by Newcastle Crown Court for Legionnaires related outbreak plus costs of £75,000 - May 2018
What Do I Need to Do? The first step is always to have a Legionella Risk Assessment carried out. A risk assessment needs to be carried out by someone who is competent to assess the risk of Legionella bacteria for the environment being assessed, for example, the level of competency required to assess a domestic property may be lower than the level of competency required to assess a business or care home. The risk assessment will recommend control and prevention measures which should be carried out and recorded by someone who is competent to carry out the work. At Water Wise Services we can do all this for you.
Why Choose Water Wise Services
As a Duty Holder or person in charge of premises it is your responsibility to ensure anyone who undertakes work in your property is competent to do so. 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. We have over a decade's water industry related experience and are;
City & Guilds Accredited for Risk Assessment & Management Control Procedures, Control of Legionella in Hot & Cold-Water Systems & The Control of Legionella in Cooling Systems
Hold the Government Endorsed Trust Mark for Legionella (one of the few businesses in the UK to achieve this high standard)
Trained by Legionella Control International
Stroma Certified for Legionella
NVQ and City & Guilds Level 2 & 3 Qualified Plumbers
Water Industry Approved & Water Safe Registered
(as recommended by NHS Estates)
Members of the Water Management Society & CIPHE
Members of the Engineering Council
Recognised by DEFRA and the Secretary of State as "Approved Contractors"
Enhanced DBS Checked and hold Public Liability & Professional Indemnity Insurance
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 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 to be carried out.
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.
Is the ACOP L8 law? No, it is not a law, but it is approved by the Secretary of State in support of the law.
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. 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 job to assess the competency of anyone involved in Legionella work 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 the required frequencies should be identified in the risk assessment.
How do we know if control & prevention is working? Taking samples and testing is the most effective way. Anyone who carries out the work 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.