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Having a Legionella Risk Assessment in place is for many people a legal requirement under Health & Safety law. If you are a Landlord, Letting Agent, Employer or in charge of or responsible for a property such as a Care Home, GP Practice, Dentist or Community Centre to name a few then you should have a risk assessment in place. To remain valid a risk assessment should be reviewed at least once every two years. Simply not having a risk assessment in place could be seen by the courts as a health & safety breach resulting in fines with a starting point of £10,000.
A Legionella Risk Assessment needs to be carried out by someone who is competent to determine the possible risk of Legionella bacteria, identify locations where Legionella may occur and recommend prevention & control measures based on the Legionella Risk Assessment. It is for the Duty Holder to assess who they believe to be competent which includes themselves, employees & contractors. A failing in competency or assessing competency by any party could be seen as a health & safety breach.
Once in place a Legionella Risk Assessment needs to be reviewed at least once every two years, this is the minimum requirement of the HSE ACOP L8. More regular reviews may be recommended depending on the outcome of the initial risk assessment. Any material changes or additions to the system such as new boilers may require a new risk assessment to be carried out.
Any Legionella Risk Assessment should take into account the hot & cold water system, cooling or heating and the people effected by those systems. In effect what this means is that you can have a low risk system but a high risk environment such as a care home. Any Legionella Risk Assessment should reflect this.
As a Duty Holder 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 decade’s water industry related experience and are;
We offer four types of Legionella Risk Assessments;
The cost of an assessment varies depending on the type of system you have, its size and nature of use. The following price guide is an estimated cost based on general property types and does not include the cost for legionella testing;
Common Questions and 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 at your home, 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.
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.
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 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.