The HSE's Approved Code of Practice ACOP L8 & Technical Guidance HSG 274

In November 2013 the HSE released the 4th edition of the Approved Code of Practice L8.  The code of practice has been released 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 HSE's ACOP L8 Supports the Requirements of

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The HSE have also issued "Technical Guidance" documents HSG 274 & 282

HSG 274 Parts 1, 2 & 3

Before the release of the 4th edition ACOP L8, HSG 274 was known as part 2 of the ACOP L8.  The technical guidance was separated from the ACOP L8 and split into three parts to avoid confusion and to prevent measures being misapplied as some providers who were not technically competent were, for example, applying measures designed for cooling systems to hot & cold-water systems and vice versa, unfortunately despite amending the technical guidance many service providers are still not applying the correct measures.  For example, using Dip Slides to test water systems when they should only be used in cooling systems and using testing systems that are not UKAS accredited.

HSG 282

HSG 282 is often forgotten, not strictly part of the ACOP L8, 282 is used to control Legionella in spa pool systems.  Spa systems present an increased risk of bacterial growth & infection.

The keys points of the HSE's ACOP L8, HSG 274 & HSG 282 are that;

  • All businesses, organisations and landlords need to protect employees, visitors, tenants and the general public against Legionella.
  • There is no exclusion for the size, number of staff or type of organisation.  The requirements of the ACOP L8 covers all businesses, domestic rented properties, charities, not for profit and sport clubs.
  • That Duty Holders which includes landlords, managers and business owners are ultimately responsible for any failings which includes failures on the behalf of contractors.
  • The Duty Holder must ensure all those involved are "technically competent" which includes all staff and the use of contractors.
  • Risk assessments must be carried out at least once every 2 years and regularly reviewed.
  • Suitable control & prevention measures need to be carried out and recorded by a "technically competent" person who knows how to ensure the measures are still being effective.
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