It is the legal duty of employers to understand the health risks associated with Legionella, and take effective measures to prevent outbreaks, such as microbiological sampling and Legionella testing.
The duties of an employer are detailed in HSE’s ACoP L8 “Legionnaires’ Disease: The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems”; the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA); the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR); and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
The importance of Legionella water sampling
Legionella bacteria causes Legionellosis, a collection of serious diseases that include Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. Any water system could be a source for Legionella growth, but risks increase if your water system is between 20ºC to 45ºC, produces breathable droplets, stores or recirculates water, and likely contains nutrients for growth of organisms.
Regular water sampling can significantly reduce the risks of an outbreak. The BS6700 specifies that microbiological activity should be measured every 6 months, where potable (drinking water) is stored. ACoP L8 recommends water sampling for Legionella:
- where a Legionella outbreak is suspected;
- for biocide-treated systems, where storage temperatures are outside acceptable parameters;
- for systems where control measures are not consistently achieved;
- for high risk areas, where water system users fall under a highly susceptible category, such as hospital wards with patients who are immunologically compromised.
Safety First’s water sampling service
The health and safety experts at Safety First are experienced in water sampling and conducting tests for different types of microbiological activity. Reports and recommendations are delivered within 20 working days.
Contact our friendly team of experts to find out more about water sampling or any of our other services: