Legionnaires Risk Assessments.
Landlords, Property Managers, Estate Agents, Property Developers, Estate Directors, Public House/ Hotels / Guest Houses.
Legionella is an opportunistic Pathogen.
Having a Legionnaires Risk Assessment will not only show a responsibility to Health & Safety and a duty of care but will also prove to a Judge or Court that in the case of an infection all reasonable control measures were taken.
In order to understand the importance of the required measures, we first have to understand the root of the problem, the bacteria itself. Legionella is a bacterium that is found in sources of fresh water, such as rivers, lakes and ponds.
However, the conditions that enable the bacteria to affect humans usually only exists in manmade water systems. Although Legionella can be present in Soil also.
Should the bacteria be given a chance to grow, it still requires one more step before it can pose a threat – aerosols. While in the water, Legionella is unable to directly cause any problems, it is only when contaminated water enters a spray such as a showerhead or a hosepipe, tap or capped water pipe/ dead leg, that the aerosols can be inhaled and there’s a potential to catch Legionnaires’ Disease.
Legionnaires’ Disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia that often goes misdiagnosed because the early symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu. Like all disease, there are at-risk groups that are more susceptible to the disease and will need control measures to be more stringent to avoid issues.
The groups with higher risk factors include:
People over 45 years of age
Smokers and heavy drinkers
People suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
People living with diabetes, lung and heart disease
Anyone with an impaired immune system
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states – “if you are a landlord and rent out a property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant”.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is the legislation that drives the need to control the bacteria and the Approved Code of Practice L8 (ACoP L8) is the method in which it is done.
With this in mind, it’s your requirement to carry out a Legionella risk assessment, It’s not uncommon for tenancy agreements, to include a breakdown of responsibilities for both property owner and tenant, this can include your responsibility for overall Legionella control.