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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. Failure to do so can lead to fines, prosecution and even imprisonment.
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.
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 can lead to Legionnaires Disease. The potential of this bacteria is so serious that the HSE publishes a monthly legionella report. In recent years we have seen a mortality rate of around 14% of notified UK Legionella cases, that is a higher mortality rate than some cancers.
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. Under the new guidelines there have been a number of fines of well over £1,000,000.
Are We Competent? 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. At Water Wise we have over a decades 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
Trained by Legionella Control International
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
Members of the CIPHE
Recognised by DEFRA and the Secretary of State
Just about every type of property needs a Legionella Risk Assessment to be carried out and reviewed at least once every two years. In fact the only type of property that doesn't need a risk assessment is a privately ownd property that is not being rented out. Our assessors are City & Guilds Accredited and Trust Mark Certified.
Legionella training is a requirement of the ACOP L8 for anyone involved in Legionella related tasks. Our training course is delivered by our team of Legionella engineers and is ideal for Duty Holders, Responsible Person's, care professionals, facilities managers or anyone one looking for Legionella training.
Legionella testing is not always required but where a risk assessment has identified a need for testing then the ACOP L8 requires water samples be tested by a UKAS accredited testing service. Our contract with ALS Environmental allows us to provide an affordable water testing solution to our customers.
Control & Prevention
As well as a Legionella Risk Assessment and any testing requirements all property types must consider Legionella Control & Prevention. The steps you need to understake will vary and anyone involved in the required tasks must be technically competent. Our engineers are trained & qualified in Legionella management.