All employers recognise they have a duty of care to protect their employees and visitors to their premises. With a plethora of health and safety rules and regulations it can be quite challenging to keep on top of it all. In this article we aim to highlight one of the more recent additions to British Health and Safety – Legionella Risk Assessments.
An Employers Responsibility to Conduct Legionella Risk Assessments
What is Legionella?
Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ Disease which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and typically affects men more than women. It is not contagious. The bacteria occur in still or slow-moving water and soil.
Legionella in the Workplace
Legionella is found in water systems both in commercial environments and in private residences, of particularly high risk are systems that produce spray, for example:
- Showers and baths
- Air con units
- Spa facilities – hot tubs and Jacuzzis
- Car wash systems
- Cooling towers
Those Particularly at Risk
Those most vulnerable to Legionella are people over the age of 45, smokers, elderly, those with chronic respiratory or kidney disease, anyone with an impaired immune system (including pregnant ladies)!
As an employer, you are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of the premises, staff and visitors and as such you should:
- identify and assess sources of Legionella risk
- manage Legionella risks
- prevent and/or control Legionella risk
- keep and maintain records
The HSE website states:
Duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) extend to risks from legionella bacteria, which may arise from work activities. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) provide a broad framework for controlling health and safety at work. More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions. The Approved Code of Practice: Legionnaires’ disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) contains practical guidance on how to manage and control the risks in your system.
Help is at Hand
An Employers Responsibility to Conduct Legionella Risk Assessments: If you need assistance conducting a Legionella Risk Assessment we have fully trained competent inspectors who will produce a thorough Risk Assessment and should it be required, arrange for remedial works. Call 0330 6600264 or email [email protected] for more information or to book an assessment.
Until next time… stay safe!