Legionella Risk Assessment

 

 

 

Legionella is a bacteria which lives in water systems. When breathed in, water droplets containing the bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ Disease. This can be a serious health issue.

The fatality rate of Legionnaires' disease has ranged from 5% to 30% during various outbreaks. The liklihood of fatalities increases significantly if treatment with appropriate antibiotics is delayed.

 

What are the legal obligations with regard to Legionella? Some of the confusion that has arisen seems to be around a perceived change in legislation. While there has been some minor changes to the wording around the issue, there is no new requirement as such. The wording changes however have highlighted that landlords have a legal duty to assess the risk level of legionella within their rental properties. This has always been the case but until now has often been mistakenly neglected or misunderstood.

 

What must be done? Unlike other requirements for rental properties such as EPCs or Gas Safety Certificates, there is no set format for a legionella risk assessment. If you are advised that you need a Legionella Test Certificate, this is incorrect and can be very expensive. What you must have however is a 'Legionella Risk Assessment' which is what we can assist with here at ESS.

A Legionella Risk Assessment involves assessing the property to see if there is a 'RISK' of legionella forming in the water system. Legislation states that landlords need to have a “competent person” undertake a risk assessment and identify if there are areas in which the legionella bacteria is likely to develop within their rental property. 

If a tenant were to contract Legionnaires’ disease from the water system in their home, the landlord may be liable to prosecution under HSWA, and would have to demonstrate to a court that they had fulfilled their legal duty, so it is important that they assess and control the risks.

It is therefore advisable to commission a written risk assessment for the property. This is a document that can demonstrate efforts to identify and minimise the risk within the dwelling and can therefore offer some protection for the landlord and/or managing agent in the hopefully unlikely event that a tenant contracts legionaries disease from the rental property they reside in.

 

Please contact us now if you require further information or if we can assist you in this area.

 

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