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Under the “Legionnaires' disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems” Approved Code of Practice 2013 (ACoP L8) which sets out the duty to manage legionella, there is a clear definition of a 'Duty Holder' which “includes employers and those with responsibilities for the control of premises”.

The AcoP L8 Risk Assessment

The AcoP L8 sets out the Duty Holders responsibilities which are to;

(a) identify and assess sources of risk.

(b) if appropriate, prepare a written scheme for preventing or controlling the risk;

(c) implement, manage and monitor precautions

(d) keep records of the precautions;

(e) appoint a competent person with sufficient authority and knowledge of the installation to help take the measures needed to comply with the law.

a) Identify and assess sources of risk

A key duty under health and safety law in the management of the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria is to carry out a legionella risk assessment and ensuring it remains up to date. Estate Management are responsible for undertaking a compliant Risk Assessment for all Operational and Residential buildings which fall under the control of Accommodation Services buildings. Estate Management will appoint a competent external party to undertake these on it’s behalf.

Frequency of Risk Assessment

Estate Management has taken a risk based approach in determining the frequency of risk assessment in its properties. The frequency will depend upon

  • The type of use of the building i.e. is it used for healthcare purposes or general administration
  • The types of systems installed

The frequency of assessment will vary between 12 to 48 months. To this end there is a rolling programme of risk assessments.

What do I need to do?

Estate Management contact each department in advance of appointing a competent external party. Prior to appointing, you will be asked to provide the following information to assist the process.

  • Access Hours and Security Arrangements
  • Restricted Areas
  • Parking Arrangements
  • Other pertinent information
  • Planned events

Upon appointment of a competent external party to undertake your risk assessment you will be advised whom it is. The external party will contact you to arrange a convenient date to undertake the risk assessment.

As part of the risk assessment they will ask to see the following information

  • Water Safety Log Book
  • Items of water related plant and equipment
  • They may ask you questions about the arrangements within your area of control.

Will I see the risk assessment?

The Risk Assessment will be sent to Estate Management. The risk assessments are being issued out to departments along with explanations of the findings and support where required. Currently, this is being done when the Water Safety Log Book is being issued. The copy you receive will be an “Uncontrolled Copy” as Estate Management will retain the “Master” copy.

What will happen if there are actions recorded in the Risk Assessment?

Estate Management will assess these and discuss individually with departments. Where large amounts of engineering remedial works have been identified, they we be managed through the Estate Management Backlog Maintenance Programme.

b) if appropriate, prepare a written scheme for preventing or controlling the risk

The Written Scheme is a documented method of preventing or controlling risk. This has been developed by Estate Management to be standard across the operational estate. The foundation of the Written Scheme is The Water Standard (HSD081B) and Water Safety Procedures including Written Scheme (HSD 082B) sets out the high level arrangements for Water Safety.

On a day to day practical level, a Water Safety Log Book should be in place within each department where Water Safety activities are recorded. Estate Management has a programme to roll these out.

c) implement, manage and monitor precautions

Both Estate Management and department have dual responsibility for this. The Water Standard (HSD081B) sets out at high level the responsibilities that both Estate Management and departments have in achieving this aim. Water Safety Procedures including Written Scheme (HSD 082B) explains these arrangements in more detail.

d) keep records of the precautions

Both Estate Management and department have dual responsibility for this. Estate Management have developed a Water Safety Log Book which is generic to all operational buildings. This allows the recording of precautions such as flushing of little used outlets etc in one place where it can be easily found.

e) appoint a competent person with sufficient authority and knowledge of the installation to help take the measures needed to comply with the law

Estate Management are in the process of appointing an external competent person to advise it accordingly.