Jump to content
Acura

Legionella Risk Assessment

Recommended Posts

Guys. Having read some comments on here a lot of you think you are competent at assessing the risks from Legionella. I will tell you now that most of you are not !

Think of it this way - would you be happy to stand up in a court of law in front of lawyers and a judge etc and explain your actions in relation to the law and associated health and safety information and guidance and why you are correct?

Competence is gained from experience, knowledge, training and education in this field (ask the HSE ). If you want to do this yourself be careful and read up about it very carefully. If you get it wrong and a tenant becomes ill, they can sue you quite easily and without a legally competent risk assessment in place you will have no defence in a court.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you read the guidance of completing the assessment it actually states that any competent person can undertake the legionella assessment.

It is a tick sheet of performance requirements that must be carried out.

I would be very happy to show any judge my signed assessment form. In the unlikely event of this legionella breaking out in any of my rented properties.

The point of the exercise is to show that you, as a landlord, have taken the necessary steps and duty of care to prevent legionella from breaking out in the first place.

So come on then explain to me and the Forum what makes this requirement so difficult to carry out?

Residential Landlord's Association Brief.

Risk assessments

Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.

Normally there is no reason why the landlord should not carry out this risk assessment himself/herself so long as they are competent. Usually there will be no need to employ a consultant. The assessment should be a straight forward simple exercise in ordinary domestic premises.

For most residential settings the risk assessment may well show the risks are low so long as simple control measures referred to in the next section are followed. This will apply to houses or flats with small domestic type water systems where the water turnover is high. Provided the risk assessment shows that the risks are insignificant and the control measures are being properly managed no further action would be necessary. It is important, however, to keep the assessment under review periodically in case anything changes to the system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys. Having read some comments on here a lot of you think you are competent at assessing the risks from Legionella. I will tell you now that most of you are not !

Think of it this way - would you be happy to stand up in a court of law in front of lawyers and a judge etc and explain your actions in relation to the law and associated health and safety information and guidance and why you are correct?

Competence is gained from experience, knowledge, training and education in this field (ask the HSE ). If you want to do this yourself be careful and read up about it very carefully. If you get it wrong and a tenant becomes ill, they can sue you quite easily and without a legally competent risk assessment in place you will have no defence in a court.

Guys. Having read some comments on here a lot of you think you are competent at assessing the risks from Legionella. I will tell you now that most of you are not !

Think of it this way - would you be happy to stand up in a court of law in front of lawyers and a judge etc and explain your actions in relation to the law and associated health and safety information and guidance and why you are correct?

Competence is gained from experience, knowledge, training and education in this field (ask the HSE ). If you want to do this yourself be careful and read up about it very carefully. If you get it wrong and a tenant becomes ill, they can sue you quite easily and without a legally competent risk assessment in place you will have no defence in a court.

I have been letting property for 30 years + and cant remember any of my tenants getting Legionnaires Disease

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerbut.

There are over 180,000 cases of pneumonia recorded in the UK each year which we never know the cause. It is estimated that a significant number are due to Legionella. It's only when people are hospitalised or die that full investigations are actioned. This is one of the reasons why carrying out a competent Legionella risk assessment is a legal requirement for landlords who are charging tenants to stay in their properties. It's called duty of care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Melboy. If you feel that you are competent to carry out the assessments then carry on. The whole idea of a risk assessment is to reduce the risk of proliferation of the Legionella bacteria in your building water systems. So you feel you are able to identify any risks, put in place required measures to control the risks and monitor those risks on an ongoing basis. So you will know the effect of tenant age and effect of any illness a tenant may have and how that effects the risk before you look at the UK water regulations that will affect the risk you may find associated with hot and cold water storage and what to do if a property becomes vacant. What if a tenant can't use facilities upstairs, how often should you recommend cleaning and disinfection of shower heads and hoses, what are the temperatures that your hot and cold water should leave an outlet, what can you do to minimise the build up of biofilm which will encourage Legionella growth, oh, and what situations will mean that you must review the assessment to maintain a safe water system.

Sorry, I must apologise, you will already know the answers to these and any other questions because you are competent aren't you !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no need for sarcasm.

I agree with Melboy. Any landlord who is reasonably intelligent and able to carry out a few simple checks can quite easily complete a legionella risk assessment and competently answer all the questions you have posed.

As usual with legal requirements, the emphasis is completely misdirected. I would suggest that there is a far greater risk from holiday let's and second homes than any from normal residential letting. In Spain there are hundreds of thousands of properties that sit empty for months between use. The only good thing to come out of this legislation is that some of us are better informed and will take a few more precautions.

It certainly isn't rocket science.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Melboy. If you feel that you are competent to carry out the assessments then carry on.

Sorry, I must apologise, you will already know the answers to these and any other questions because you are competent aren't you !

Absolutely right I am. I am a retired managing director of a Heating & Plumbing Company. Health & Safety was a high priority in my business plus the knowledge of water sytems and risk of water born disease etc..

In your case you need to look at the requirement check list as laid down by HSE of carrying out a legionella check on rented property and water systems but I would suggest you have an agenda of charging a high fee for carrying out this simple work.

I am out of this discussion now...................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A landlord has a statutory duty to control any risk of exposure to legionella bacteria in a property and this essentially involves a risk assessment.

If you/the landlord wish to employ a specialist firm to undertake this assessment for you this may give you peace of mind but all that is necessary in most domestic properties is to follow the advice on the HSE website and to make sure that you give sensible advice to tenants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think there is a higher risk of catching pneumonia through air conditioning , I certainly caught it through the Air con on an Easy jet flight from Tenerife a few years ago and was on steroids for 2 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be grateful if contributor Smunt would inform us what level of competence is required for legionella risk assessment - I assume he/she knows.

Having read through various documents about the assessment (see H&SE link in a previous message) I concluded that I was capable of (1) knowing what hot water system was installed, (2) checking whether water temperature fell within critical range,(3) knowing how to refresh an infrequently emptied storage tank if necessary, and (4) informing my tenants how to look after hot water supply and hazards of not doing so. What else do I need to know?

I am also aware that legionella is not the only hazard that tenants may be subject to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerbut - I would argue that you caught a virus - maybe on a plane that presented as pneumonia. You can get a jab against it now that lasts 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a L8 manager for the company I work for, and this is the first I have heard of it for rental (domestic) use.

its very easy to carry out the tests, temp checks for all points of use (taps and showers) and items such as showers most often need to be flushed and sampled, I think we pay as a business about £100 a year for 2 or 3 samples to be sent to the lab to to check spore growth, it get a little more complex if you have storage tanks for drinking water but its all very stright forward in the main, as most flats and house will be mains fed.

could be another line of business for me to get into!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

djk-uk

I'm not sure what tests you are paying for but Legionella does not produce spores !

I ran/owned a UKAS accredited lab for 10 years and we would charge no more than £15 per sample for Legionella analysis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get to excited.....most landlords on this forum wouldn't dream of paying someone to carry out a simple legionella risk assessment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get to excited.....most landlords on this forum wouldn't dream of paying someone to carry out a simple legionella risk assessment.

Unless you're overseas like I am and have no choice :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I regularly spend time in Spain as I have a second home there but am close enough to the Uk to travel back easily.

Ironically, in Spain I have a gardener, someone who does all my laundry and someone who looks after my car, delivering it to the airport on my arrival and collecting and storing it when I return to the UK. In the UK I do most of it myself....I really must remember to delegate more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry I think I used the wrong terms, the 2 to 3 tests / samples to lab total £100 per year we do tests on drinking water L8 checks

and also checks on the ventilation system for dust / fat / microbe build up I was getting them confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I carried out a legionella risk assessment today, during annual gas check / heating / hot water system check by certified serviceman. He confirmed to me, as I thought, that as domestic hot water is heated by coil by c/h water in 'reversed' tank, there is no hot storage. Shower is electric from cold. Therefore I concluded negligible risk. Am I right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding is :

1. The risk is negligible under ALL scenarios.

2. The risk is reduced in properties in continuous use.

3. Any property that complies with all the recommendations but which sits empty for long periods has increased risk.

4. Taps & shower outlets are areas of increased risk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richlist. Your questions demonstrate to me that you need a skilled assessor to look at your systems. 1) The risk is normally lower in these types of buildings but each is different and should be assessed as a "one off" because there may be something which is not acceptable and thus affects the whole risk of the site. 2) This is correct. 3) This is an example of what I meant in point 1). 4) Taps and showers may provide a raised risk, which is why we recommend how to manage the risks when producing an assessment.

The level of risk will depend on :

  • The potential for formation of droplets.
  • The condition of the water.
  • Hot water temperature.
  • Cold water temperature.
  • The water turnover rate.
  • The susceptibility of persons exposed to droplets.
  • The population density exposed to droplets.

Each of the above are looked at for each situation and given a risk rating number (from proven statistics) for each outlet which can be judged in a court of law. This allows us to be confident of what we are talking about.

So when people want to do their own assessments properly and back up what they regard as a risk or not they should use this type of assessment system. Its not as easy as some contributors think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are making a typical assessors assumption.

1. My post did not include questions....just statements of fact.

2. It was not intended as a definitive list.

3. I am fully aware of all of your points and the facts which are covered in the official documentation available to everyone.

4. I don't 'need' to be told I need an assessor. I AM able to carry out an assessment and resent the implication that only skilled people can do it properly.

I use skilled people when I need real expertise....gas safe engineers or qualified electricians.....I don't view your job as skilled.

You are completely wasting your time trying to persuade me otherwise. Most landlords who would describe themselves as hands on will never use an assessor....but, I suspect you already know that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smunt: A 'reversed' tank is one where the sealed heating water fills a tank to heat an internal coil through which the domestic water flows. I am surprised that you would not know of this. Thus there is no stored domestic water, (a similar principle to a combi boiler, but with separate heat exchanger - i.e. 'reversed' tank).. The tank (or cylinder) is thus opposite way round (reversed) to traditional tank where the heating coil carries the hot flow from boiler to heat hot domestic water stored in the tank. The different types of common h w circuits are explained more clearly in H&SE Guidance notes.

Also, I do wish people would not confuse Hazard with Risk. An elephant loose on a motorway is a very serious hazard, but (in UK) a negligible Risk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chestnut. So we are talking about a combination boiler. The risk from these is. as you say generally low. But what if the water was left in the pipe work and not used for a few days/weeks and the tenant, who may be elderly/have a chest condition comes back from holiday then turns on the water ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...