The Health and Safety Executive has recently
updated legislation regarding the control of legionnaires' disease. This revision means the legislation now applies to residential lettings, which were not covered previously due to their size.
All residential properties which
are rented out must now have a risk assessment undertaken to determine the risk of legionella, which then allows landlords to implement a suitable control scheme.
Legionella are bacteria that are
common in natural (rivers and lakes etc) and artificial water systems, eg hot and cold water systems (storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers).
We usually associate legionella
with larger water systems, eg in factories, hotels, hospitals and museums, and cooling towers, but they can also live in smaller water supply systems used in homes and other residential accommodation.
Under general health and safety
law, as a landlord you have health and safety duties and need to take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to legionella.
Carrying out a risk assessment is your responsibility and will help you to establish any potential risks and implement measures to either eliminate or control risks.
To identify the risks in your water system you, or a competent person who understands your water systems and any associated equipment, should establish any possible exposure to legionella risks, as part of a risk assessment.
Your risk assessment should include:
management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person and a description of your system;
any potential risk sources;
any controls currently in place to control risks;
monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures;
records of the monitoring results, inspection and checks carried out; and
a review date.
If you decide that the risks are insignificant and are being properly managed to comply with the law, your assessment is complete. You will not need to take any further action, but it is important to review your assessment periodically in case anything changes in your system.
More information can be found in the HSE publications Legionnaires' disease - A brief guide for dutyholders (5 pages) and Legionnaires' disease - Approved Code of Practice and guidance (68 pages) copies of which you can download below: