Legionnaires Risk Assessments
In November 2013 the Approved Code of Practice for the control of legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) was re written which now means that all private residential landlords need to complete a Legionnaires' Disease risk assessment on their properties and this needs to be updated periodically.
Below is an extract taken from page 45 of HSG274 The HSE guidance document for Hot and Cold water systems.
From this you can see that there is a legal obligation place on landlords to undertake a formal risk assessment of the water systems within the premise to be let.
Residential accommodation: Landlords
2.138 Landlords who provide residential accommodation, as the person in control of the premises or responsible for the water systems in their premises, have a legal duty to ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is properly assessed and controlled. This duty extends to residents, guests, tenants and customers. They can carry out a risk assessment themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is.
2.139 Where a managing (or letting) agent is used, the management contract should clearly specify who has responsibility for maintenance and safety checks, including managing the risk from legionella. Where there is no contract or agreement in place or it does not specify who has responsibility, the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises and the water system in it, and in most cases, this will be the landlord themselves.
2.140 All water systems require a risk assessment but not all systems require elaborate control measures. A simple risk assessment may show that there are no real risks from legionella, but if there are, implementing appropriate measures will prevent or control these risks. The law requires simple, proportionate and practical actions to be taken, including identifying and assessing sources of risk, managing the risk, preventing or controlling the risk; and periodically checking that any control measures are effective.
2.141 For most residential settings, the risk assessment may show the risks are low, in which case no further action may be necessary, e.g. housing units with small domestic-type water systems where water turnover is high. If the assessment shows the risks are insignificant and are being properly managed to comply with the law, no further action may be required, but it is important to review the assessment periodically in case anything changes in the system. However, the frequency of inspection and maintenance will depend on the system and the risks it presents.
2.142 Simple control measures can help manage the risk of exposure to legionella and should be maintained, such as:
- flushing out the system before letting the property
- avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight-fitting lid
- setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the calorifier to ensure water is stored at 60 °C)
- making sure any redundant pipework identified is removed
- advising tenants to regularly clean and disinfect showerheads
The full document can be downloaded from HSE website: