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Understanding Your Legionella Testing Responsibilities

05 April 2023

Chances are you’ve heard about the dangers of legionella pneumophila bacteria, the cause of the infamous and deadly Legionnaires’ disease, but are you aware of your business responsibilities when it comes to legionella testing? 

In our latest article, we’ll delve into what your business is required to do when it comes to legionella testing. 


What is legionella testing? 

Legionella testing is the key to protecting your water system from the risk of potential contamination.

It involves the periodic sampling of water sources around your site, including outlets, storage tanks and heaters to determine if your current control scheme is working and detect the growth of any harmful bacteria.  

To be effective, legionella tests need to be carried out regularly, and on any occasions where there has been significant disruption to your operation on site, such as construction or maintenance, that might have caused disuse or damage. You’ll also need to test for legionella should you be experiencing any temperature control issues. 


What are your legionella testing responsibilities? 

When it comes to legionella testing, it’s important to be aware of your business’ responsibilities, or else you could find yourself facing hefty fines or even prosecution from the Health Safety Executive (HSE). No, thank you!

Here are the 4 legal responsibilities you need to be aware of:


Legionella risk assessments 

Did you know that any business in the UK that has a hot and cold water system on site is legally required to carry out a legionella risk assessment

A legionella risk assessment is designed to help you reduce the risk of contamination by highlighting areas of concern that need to be treated. It involves an onsite visit from a qualified engineer who will carry out a thorough survey of your water system(s). Once the potential risks are identified, an action plan is formed of all the necessary remedial work and treatments needed to get your system back to tip-top condition! 

At H2O Hygiene, we believe that legionella prevention is an ongoing process that involves regular risk assessments, as well as reassessment when there have been any significant changes to your site.  

Remember, legionella risk assessments alone are not enough to remain ACoP L8 compliant. If the results show that there is contamination in your system, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all the necessary work is carried out to remove the risk.


Ongoing management

As we’ve mentioned previously, a key aspect of legionella testing is regular management. This is to ensure that any positive results for contamination are caught immediately so that necessary action can be taken to prevent further spread. 

For this reason, your water system management duties and remedial work should be organised in a weekly, monthly and quarterly system, so that no pesky legionella bacteria slip through the net.  

Create a rota and stick to it; regular management is key – keep it up and you’ll save your business a lot of money in the long run. 


Assigned duties 

It’s recommended that you assign individuals to oversee sets of water hygiene duties, such as taking water temperatures or flushing systems. 

This is to ensure that each task or responsibility is accounted for and nothing is neglected or forgotten. It also means that if these duties are mismanaged, these individuals are held personally accountable. 


Record keeping 

When it comes to the results of legionella testing and risk assessments, records must be kept for up to 5 years after they are collected. 

This includes any remedial work carried out as a result of risk assessments, as well as evidence of actions taken that are associated with legionella management, such as calibration or training certificates.

This is to ensure that in the event of a legionella outbreak, you can prove that you performed all the necessary measures you could, in compliance with HSE guidelines to prevent contamination. 


What happens if you don’t address your legionella testing responsibilities?

If you fail to meet your responsibilities when it comes to legionella testing, you and your business could face a whole host of unpleasant consequences, including: 

  • Increased legionella risk 
  • Fines or prosecution, through HSE or affected persons
  • Damages your business reputation 
  • Difficulty recruiting
  • Paying for costly remedial works

Any of these could be the final nail in the coffin when it comes to the survival of your business after a legionella outbreak, which is why it’s essential that you alleviate the risks through proper water system management. 


Legionella testing and risk assessment from H2O Hygiene 

At H2O Hygiene, it’s our passion to ensure that our clients’ water is safe and their systems compliant! That’s why we’re here to identify and treat risks through legionella testing and risk assessments. 

If you have any further questions about Legionnaires’ disease or would like to book legionella testing or a risk assessment with one of our specialists, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

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