Now Landlords have yet another compliance issue to concern themselves with and this time it is a Legionella Risk Assessment.
Legionellosis is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria and includes Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever as well as the most serious Legionnaires’ Disease-which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.
Everyone is susceptible to infection but higher risk groups include:-
- People over 45
- Smokers and heavy drinkers
- People with chronic respiratory or kidney disease
- Anyone with an impaired immune system
The bacterium is common in natural water sources and also purpose-built water systems. Legionnaires’ Disease is normally contracted by inhaling, deep into the lungs, tiny droplets of water which are contaminated with the legionella bacteria. Person to person spread of the disease has not been documented.
The bacteria require certain conditions in order to multiply including moderate temperature, adequate food supply and shelter. Thus the main aspect of legionella control is to ensure that you do not have suitable conditions within your water system to allow the legionella bacteria potentially to multiply to dangerous levels.
The bad news for landlords is that they now have a duty of care under the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations to ensure that the risk posed from legionella is formally recorded in a Legionella Risk Assessment and measures to control any identified risk are duly carried out.
A good Letting Agent will ensure that a landlord’s obligation in this regard has been properly met.
More information is available by referring to the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice & Guidance “Legionnaires’ Disease-The control of legionella bacteria in water systems” (also known as ACoP L8) and HSG 274-Legionnaires’ Disease-Technical Guidance “ both available to download from www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires
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