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How Often Should You Test for Legionella?

Legionella testing should be carried out in hot and cold water systems to ensure appropriate measures are in place to control the risks. We are regularly asked how often our clients should test for Legionella. With so much information publicly available, particularly through the HSE, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of checks, testing and requirements set out to ensure water hygiene compliance.

Confusion is often raised between landlords, tenants and property managers as to who is responsible for Legionella testing and when this should be undertaken. Often leaving businesses unaware of who should test for Legionella as well as when to test for Legionella.

What is Legionella?

The requirement to test for Legionella is due to the existence of Legionella bacteria. Legionella pneumophilia and other related bacteria are responsible for Legionellosis, pneumonia like illnesses caused by the bacteria. Legionella is naturally occurring in natural water environment such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs. However, there is possibility for the bacteria to contaminate purpose-built water systems.

Legionella bacteria is a living organism which thrives in quite specific conditions. These conditions which can be replicated in purpose-built water systems including:

  • Showers, taps and baths
  • Cooling towers and air conditioning units
  • Hot tubs and spa pools

The conditions optimum for the Legionella bacteria include:

  • Temperatures between 20-50°C with optimum growth occurring at a temperature of 37°
  • Little or no water movement, stagnant water provides an excellent breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria.
  • Water systems which enhance the spread of bacteria through producing aerosols/water vapour which can then be inhaled

Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, part of the Legionellosis collective like illnesses. Milder forms of the disease include Pontiac Fever and Lochgoilhead. The potentially fatal Legionnaires Disease is a risk to all however there are a number of people who the disease poses a higher risk to, these include:

  • Those over 45 years of age
  • Smokers and heavy drinkers
  • The elderly and infirm
  • Those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
  • Those with impaired immune systems

Legionnaires Disease is responsible for a significant number of deaths each year and it is essential that a strategy is implemented to prevent the spread of the Legionella bacteria in all commercial properties.

Why a Business is Concerned about Legionella?

If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises (e.g. landlord), you have a duty to understand and manage Legionella risks. If you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, including landlords, you must understand the health risks associated with Legionella. (Source: HSE)

Employers, Landlords, Property Managers can refer to:

Legionnaires disease. The control of water systems. The Approved Code of Practice and Guidance

Aimed at those in control of a premises and responsible for the health and safety of those within the building. The guide is available to help employers, landlords, property managers to comply with their legal duties in relation to Legionella testing.

How Often Should You Test For Legionella?

What is legionella testing? Legionella testing identifies the existence of the Legionella bacteria commonly found in water. How frequently should you test for Legionella? The actual timings employers, landlords, property managers should arrange to test for Legionella can vary amongst properties and is dictated by your Water Hygiene Risk Assessment. With monthly checks generally required on Sentinel taps for both hot and cold water and 6 monthly checks on incoming cold water inlets. Annual Water Sampling is likely to be recommended in most commercial properties.

It is a legal duty to carry out a Legionella and Water Hygiene Risk Assessment to identify and assess whether there is a risk posed by exposure to Legionella from the hot and cold water system or any work associated with it. B38 Group offer professional Legionella and Water Hygiene Risk Assessments to help with your compliance with current UK Health and Safety regulations.

What is the Legislation on Water Risk and Legionella?

The ACoP L8 “The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems” and The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 ensure there is strict requirements and obligations in place to ensure all landlords, employers, commercial tenants and property managers undertake a Legionella and Water Hygiene Risk Assessment on all workplace buildings where there is a foreseeable risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria.

Whatever your business or property this legislation covers; hotels, gyms, retail premises, leisure clubs, offices, warehouses and large process systems in factories etc. This also applies to those who provide residential accommodation or who are responsible for the water systems in their premises.

Benefits of Outsourcing Legionella Testing

In order to comply with legislation and keep those who utilise the commercial property safe, it is often in a company’s best interest to outsource Legionella testing and arrange an external company to test for legionella on their behalf. Outsourcing to a reliable water testing company will ensure testing is done in accordance to property requirements, as well as done on schedule and any actions that are required as a result of the test for Legionella are undertaken quickly and effectively.

Legionella Testing Services from B38 Group

B38 Group are a national facilities management company. We deliver a range of facilities management services nationally from our headquarters in West Yorkshire. Our facilities management services support multi-sector businesses, organisations and SMEs throughout the UK.

As a leading national facilities management company, we operate our fm services across all of the following market sectors:

Our team of facilities management professionals deliver essential and sustainable facilities management solutions to each and everyone of our clients. Here at B38 Group, we offer a range of fm services including hard facilities management and soft facilities management services.

B38 Group offer water treatment services including Legionella testing. Our water treatment services range from ACop L8 standard domestic monitoring and Legionella risk assessments through to programmes for cold water storage tanks, boilers and cooling towers. We understand how important these water treatment services are to our clients. As part of our PPM maintenance services, we also provide advice and consultancy through to microbiological sampling, water system analysis and the delivery of chemical solutions.

Our team of facilities management professionals are capable of delivering a fully bespoke package of facilities management services relevant to each individual clients needs. By providing this facilities management outsourcing service, our clients can be assured of their property compliance as well as the safeguarding of those who utilise their properties.

B38 Group are one of the fastest growing facility management companies. If you are looking at facilities management outsourcing to B38 Group for Legionella testing and water treatment services, please contact us on 0800 0806 247 or simply fill in the form below with your request.

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