Ensure external Legionella risk assessors can do the job

IHEEM-registered AEs (Water), Steve Mount and Harry Evans, warn that it is imperative to make a judicious choice of risk assessor and water hygiene contractor as part of a concerted and effective strategy to combat Legionella in healthcare water systems.

 Taking on individuals without demonstrable evidence of the necessary competence and expertise is fraught with danger, and – should a serious incident occur – leaves the client organisation, such as an NHS Trust, open to serious consequences – in the worst case facing prosecution.

After an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 1976 in Philadelphia, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produced a guidance note (EH48), while in 1991, the Health and Safety Commission published the Approved Code and Practice for the Prevention of Legionellosis; the second edition was published in 1995. In 1998, there was specific guidance issued for hot and cold water systems. In 2001, everything was combined into one guidance document, the first edition of the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, L8, within this there were various levels of document: laws, regulations, approved codes of practice, and technical guidance. In 2013/14, the HSE published the latest ACOP L8 and HSG274 Legionnaire’s disease Technical guidance, which provide more detailed guidance on Legionella risk assessment, control measures, and managing potential contamination sources. 

A response to a series of outbreaks

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