Landlords of residential and commercial properties have various legal requirements when it comes to health and safety, with one important example being assessing, preventing, and controlling any possible exposure to Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease.
Water systems in both private and commercial properties therefore require a Legionella risk assessment to ensure there are no risks for tenants or employees. Whether you are the employer of a business or landlord of a private property, you are required to conduct a Legionella risk assessment by law.
While landlords, employers, or health and safety employees are permitted to conduct the assessment themselves, outsourcing this to a professional risk assessment company is often viewed as the best choice to ensure all regulations are met.
What is Legionella?
A type of bacteria found in water, Legionella is responsible for the development of Legionnaires disease. Legionella naturally occurs in freshwater supplies, but often contaminates hot and cold water systems found in homes and businesses throughout the country.
As it causes the sometimes-fatal Legionnaires disease through the inhalation of contaminated water droplets, legal requirements are in place for the owners or people in charge of properties to prevent this serious health hazard.
Who Performs a Legionella Risk Assessment?
There are several people that can perform a Legionella risk assessment. For instance, if in a private property being rented out, the sole responsibility to conduct the assessment falls on the landlord, who can either do it themselves or hire a company to do it for them.
In the case of workplaces, it can be performed by the person responsible for running the building or the employer of the building, with the option to use employees with relative health and safety knowledge or outsource to a water treatment company.
While you can outsource the risk assessment, the responsibility still falls on the employer/landlord to ensure it is carried out to the required safety standards.
How Often Should Assessments Be Conducted?
Assessments should be conducted around every two years or when changes to the water system, while it is important to develop a programme where regular maintenance checkers are performed to keep risks as low as possible.
Hiring a Water Treatment Company
As it is not necessary to hire a water treatment company many businesses and landlords decide against it. However, this is certainly a risky move to take, as a Legionella risk assessment must be conducted by individuals with relative knowledge and skills.
Water treatment specialists will conduct the entire Legionella risk assessment on behalf of the company or landlord, performing the necessary tests while also highlighting the high-risk areas of the property where Legionella is most likely to develop.