Water Safety and Legionella
Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by the inhalation of droplets of water contaminated by the Legionella bacteria and people most at risk are individuals with weaker immune systems. it can be identified by its pneumonia-type symptoms, including nausea, headaches, coughing, fever and shortness of breath.
Whilst the legionella bacteria is found in most water systems, according to the Health and Safety Executive, Legionella’s ideal conditions for breeding and multiplying are:
- Temperature range (i.e. cold water above 20 degrees, hot water below 50 degrees
- Water droplets produced and dispersed;
- “Food” available for the bacteria to feed on such as stagnant water within redundant (unused) pipework or rarely used outlets leading to rust, sludge, etc.
Risk assessments must be regularly reviewed by a competent person defined by the HSE as ‘someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience’. An agent can fall into this category if they have an understanding of how to inspect the premises for any risks. The legal duties for landlords who provide residential properties can be read here
Note: New assessments need to be carried out should vulnerable tenants move in or a system is updated/altered
A written record must be kept that needs to include:
- The name of the person carrying out the risk assessment;
- The review date;
- A list of the systems being assessed;
- Any potential sources of risk;
- Any risk controls in place;
- Records of monitoring, inspections, maintenance procedures and checks.