Legionella Risk Assessments

Are Landlords Responsible for Conducting Legionella Risk Assessments?

In the UK, landlords and property managers of rental properties have a legal obligation to assess and manage the risk of Legionella in water systems within their properties. The legislation that governs Legionella risk assessments for rental properties includes: 1. Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: While primarily aimed at protecting workers, this legislation also applies to residential rental properties. Landlords have a duty of care towards their tenants to ensure the property is safe and free from health hazards, including the risks associated with Legionella. 2. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002: These regulations require landlords to assess and manage the risks posed by hazardous substances, including Legionella bacteria, in the water systems of rental properties. 3. The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006: In England, these regulations specifically require landlords of HMOs to take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to Legionella to a minimum level. Similar regulations exist in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

What Does a Legionella Risk Assessment Entail?

Conducting a Legionella risk assessment involves a systematic process to identify and assess potential sources of Legionella bacteria within a water system.

Here are the key steps typically involved in performing a Legionella risk assessment:

  • Identify Water Systems: Identify all water systems within the premises that could potentially harbor Legionella bacteria, including hot and cold water systems, showers, cooling towers, spas, and other water-related facilities.
  • Gather Information: Collect relevant information about the water systems, including design schematics, operational practices, maintenance records, and any history of Legionella issues.
  • Identify Potential Hazards: Identify potential areas where Legionella bacteria could thrive, such as stagnant water, water storage tanks, infrequently used outlets, or areas where water temperature is conducive to bacterial growth.
  • Assess Risk Factors: Consider risk factors such as water temperature, water storage conditions, presence of biofilm, level of water stagnation, and the potential for aerosol generation (e.g., showers, cooling towers).
  • Temperature Monitoring: Measure and record water temperatures at various points in the system to ensure they are within safe ranges to inhibit Legionella growth 
  • Document Findings: Document all findings from the inspection and assessment, including areas of concern, identified risks, and recommendations for control measures
  • Risk Assessment Report: Prepare a comprehensive risk assessment report detailing the assessment findings, risk levels, control measures needed, and a management plan for Legionella control
  • It is essential to ensure that the Legionella risk assessment is carried out by a competent person with the necessary knowledge and expertise in water systems, Legionella bacteria, and control measures. Regular review and updating of the risk assessment are important to ensure ongoing compliance and effectiveness in managing the risk of Legionella contamination.