Legionella – Avoiding confusion, maintaining compliance

Legionella control is an area many find confusing. Often site staff and duty holders do not fully understand their responsibilities.

Plant Inspection Services are here to provide you with clear and concise risk assessments and training. We will help you and your employees to fully understand your water systems and your requirements under the relevant health and safety guidance.

We focus on providing full compliance and peace of mind through or range of consultancy services, including:

Legionella Risk Assessments:

Site specific, detailed and yet straight to the point. Our risk assessments focus on what you need to know to maintain compliance, with recommendations made on how to correct any issues found.

Written Schemes of Control:

We can provide a detailed, site specific, scheme of control for you and your staff to follow. This will outline the exact requirements for each part of your system as per the relevant guidance. 

A Written Scheme of Control is separate from the risk assessment. It should clearly identify the measures required to control risks from exposure to legionella and how those measures should be implemented.

Training Courses:

Carried out at your site, our training courses cater to Duty Holders, Responsible People, Appointed Deputies, and anyone involved in the legionella management regime. Always up to date, the course will leave you with a full understanding of what legionella is, where it comes from, why it causes a problem, and the management required. In addition, a practical session can be provided demonstrating the basic monitoring tasks. 

We can also assist you with further remedial actions and more complex inspection and monitoring tasks. These include cold water storage tank cleaning and disinfection, calorifier inspections and TMV Servicing.

For more information, please contact us for help, advice and a no obligation quote. You can view the HSE guidance on legionella here.

FAQs

Legionella is a pathogenic group of gram-negative bacteria, which includes Legionella Pneumophila (the bacteria responsible for legionnaires disease).

Around 50 species of legionella have been detected with at least 20 causing illness in humans, however legionella pneumophila is responsible for approximately 90% of cases.

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

Conditions in these locations are rarely conductive to people catching legionellosis from these sources, however this means legionella bacteria can be present in all water supplies. This includes mains water.

Legionella bacteria can flourish under specific conditions. Unfortunately, those conditions are often present in our water systems.

These include:

  • Ideal Temperatures – Legionella multiplies between 20°C and 50°C with optimum growth occurring at a temperature of 37°C
  • Poor circulation – stagnant water provides an excellent breeding ground for the bacteria
  • Aerosol Production – Water systems which produce aerosols by design, enabling the spread of legionnaires disease.

Everyone is susceptible to infection. However, certain factors such as age, smoking and existing illnesses can significantly increase the risk.

The bacteria cause illness when they enter and take hold deep within the lungs. For this to happen the bacteria need to be suspended in an aerosol and breathed deep into the lungs. Factors affecting the likelihood of infection include:

  • Droplet Size
  • Concentration of bacteria
  • Duration of exposure
  • Susceptibility of individuals
  • The virulence of strain
  1. Appoint the right people.

A competent person, known as the responsible person, should be appointed to help you in controlling any identified risk. They should have sufficient authority, competence, skills, knowledge of the system, and experience.

  1. Identify and assess the risk.

A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should be carried out to identify sources of risk so that they can be properly managed.

  1. Prevent or control.

It should be considered whether the risk can be prevented by modifying The water system. Where this is not possible a written scheme of control should be introduced with effective control measures to manage the risk.

  1. Record Keeping.

Records should be kept of all activities, temperatures, findings, and actions for at least five years. It is important to sign and date all records.

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