If you are a landlord or employer, you need to be aware of the health risks associated with Legionella. You also need to be aware of your legal responsibilities in assessing, identifying and managing that risk.

The Legionella bacterium is commonly found in bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. However, it can also be present in the water systems of domestic and commercial buildings.

By and large it poses very little risk for humans, however, with the right conditions, the Legionella bacterium can grow and cause humans to contract Legionnaires’ disease.

Under the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Approved Code of Practice: Legionnaires' disease: Control of Legionella Bacteria in water systems (L8), landlords and employers are legally required to carry out testing when their property features hot or cold-water systems and wet cooling systems.

Who needs to carry out Legionella Testing?

Any individual responsible for water systems in residential, commercial or industrial buildings is legally bound to ensure that water is safe for users. HSE emphasises that Legionella testing and sampling is generally not required in domestic hot water systems unless there are exceptional circumstances.

According to the HSE’s Code of Practice, legionella risk control is non-negotiable and legally-binding for any business where water is used and/or stored. That applies to any buildings where sinks, taps, showers, water tanks, toilets and any other form of water supply are used by tenants, employees or members of the public.

Potential legionella-spreading environments include schools, rented flats, dentists, doctors’ surgeries, spas, hotels, care homes and other commercial, manufacturing and distribution sites need to make sure they carry out regular legionella testing.

The Benefits of Legionella Testing

The benefits of carrying out a routine legionella test far outweighs the potential health and legal risks linked with not doing a test. Landlords and employers need to do what they can to avoid an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

There are a number of key benefits for landlords who routinely test for legionella.

· Protecting the health of tenants and visitors: By routinely testing for legionella, landlords and employers are able to safeguard the health and wellbeing of tenants, employees, building occupants and visitors.

· Proving due diligence: A program of regular testing and maintenance will demonstrate due diligence in the event of an outbreak. Documenting historical legionella testing data helps protect building owners and managers against any potential litigation.

· Bridging the gap to HSE compliance: Where it is not practically possible to achieve full compliance to the HSE’s Code of Practice, legionella testing plays a key role. It allows reactive procedures to be implemented where routine maintenance and monitoring are difficult to carry out.

Who should carry out Legionella Testing?

According to the Residential Landlords Association, there is no reason why a landlord cannot carry out a legionella risk assessment themselves – as long as they are competent. If it is found that the water quality needs to be tested, that test can be carried out be a service provider or the operator.

Landlords and employers are able to order legionella testing kits online. Order one through Smartwater Testing and you will receive it within a few days. Follow the three-step process and once the samples have been cultured in an accredited laboratory, you will get the results and a certificate around 14 days later.

Expert Legionella Testing Solutions

If you would like to find out more about legionella testing, contact the team at Smartwater Testing. Full discretion is assured, whatever the test results show up and although we only provide a test and report service, we do work with water treatment specialists. With your permission, we can forward your test results to them for their advice and recommendations. Get in touch to find out more and order your testing kit online today.