Water hygiene & legionella useful information

Primary Water Solutions are independent specialists in Legionella risk assessment in Gloucestershire, Swindon, Bath, BirminghamCardiffSouthampton and Reading.
When it comes to finding a specialist in Legionella risk assessment in Gloucestershire., Primary Water Solutions are the perfect choice. From private businesses to public sector buildings in Swindon and throughout the UK, we provide cost-effective user-friendly risk assessments, training and monitoring. As independent specialists in the field, our aim is to control the causes of Legionnaires disease through poor water hygiene.

It is now a legal requirement to be compliant with The Approved Code of Practice L8 (ACoP) to have a legionella risk assessment. The recommended code of conduct for service providers, the Legionella Control Association, recognise our high-standard of service ensuring that you are in safe hands. Plus, each and every one of our on-site surveyors are City & Guilds qualified and full members of the Water Management Society.

In 2013, potentially lethal levels of Legionella bacteria were found in the showers of a Leisure Centre in Swindon. The higher than normal levels of bacteria in the water services were found during a routine check and could have lead to cases of Legionnaires disease. This case in particular identifies that health and safety measures need to be put into force to reduce the risk of potential life-changing scenarios.


What is legionella?

Legionella is a bacterium commonly associated with Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia. It was named after an outbreak of severe pneumonia that affected a meeting of the American Legion in 1976.

What is Legionellosis?

Legionellosis is the name given for a group of illnesses associated with legionella bacteria. There are three main illnesses caused by the bacteria
1) Legionnaires’ disease
2) Pontiac Fever
3) Lochgoilhead Fever.

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What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal bacterial pneumonia infection that is normally contracted by breathing in water droplets with an incubation period of 2-10 days. The infectious dose is clearly linked to susceptibility, although it is considered to attack between 2-5% of those exposed.

Where does it come from?

Legionella bacteria are common in the natural environment, such as in rivers, lakes and artificial water systems such as hot and cold water systems or cooling towers.

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How do people become ill?

Normally it is contracted by means of the bacteria being aerosolised and then inhaled. High susceptible individuals may get infected at relatively low doses

Are there laws and regulations with regards to Legionella?

The Health and Safety at Work act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations place legal duties on employers and those responsible for the control of premises to control the risk from exposure to bacteria.

The Approved code of Practice and guidance more commonly known as L8 gives advice on these legal duties and sets out strategies for controlling the risk.

The five key areas that are required to comply with legal duties are;

>Identify and assess source of risk
>Prepare a scheme for preventing or controlling the risk
>Implement, manage, and monitor precautions
>Keep records
>Appoint a person to be managerially responsible

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Do I need a Legionella risk assessment?

A suitable risk assessment is required to cover all water systems in any commercial premise. This includes rented housing stock particularly where communal services are present.

How often should you update the legionella risk assessment?

Guidance details that the risk assessment should be up-dated regularly (at least every two years) or when there are significant changes that may render the assessment invalid (e.g. change in water systems / change in occupants / legionella bacteria found / legionella outbreak). In order to identify any changes it is recommended that a formal desk based review is under taken regularly with findings being recorded.

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How can you control Legionella in hot and cold water systems?

There are several measures that can be adopted to create water systems in the built environment that are hostile to the growth of legionella. Most traditionally, temperature is used to control legionella. Wherever possible, temperature should be the first line of defence used to control the bacterial growth.

System Required Temperature:

Hot water storage - 60 Deg. C
Hot Water Distribution Greater than - 50 Deg. C
Cold water Storage Less than - 20 Deg. C
Cold Water Distribution Less than - 20 Deg. C

It is also particularly important to ensure that all areas of the distribution system are in regular use to safe guard against stagnation.

Will I need to do any routine monitoring?

The control scheme which will be completed and detailed in the legionella risk assessment report will identify the tasks that are required to control the risks. The level of monitoring required will depend on the type of water systems and services and users within your site. A basic water system for example in a 5-storey office block may require monthly temperature checks, six monthly & annual inspections (other tasks may include quarterly shower head cleaning or weekly flushing of infrequently used outlets).

Specific guidance regarding the control of legionella bacteria is supplied in Legionnaires’ disease – The control of legionella bacteria in water systems. Approved Code of Practice and guidance L8.

Downloadable from the HSE website – www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l8.pdf

A leaflet briefly defining your legionella obligations is downloadable from the HSE website and we strongly recommend you take the time to read this leaflet as a starting point Legionnaires’ disease a guide for employers – Click Here

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