Legionella is a bacteria commonly found in water sources like lakes and ponds, as well as man-made water systems such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and plumbing systems. This bacterium can lead to a serious lung infection known as Legionnaires disease, as well as a milder illness called Pontiac fever. 

Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia that can be fatal, particularly among older adults or individuals with weakened immune systems. Its symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headaches. On the other hand, Pontiac fever is a milder illness that typically resolves on its own within a few days. 

Legionella bacteria are spread through the air when water containing the bacteria is aerosolized, such as in a shower or hot tub, and then inhaled. People can also become infected by aspirating contaminated water into their lungs, such as when drinking or inhaling water while swimming. 

To prevent Legionella infections, proper maintenance and disinfection of water systems are crucial, especially in large buildings like hotels, hospitals, and nursing homes. Regular testing for the presence of Legionella bacteria in water systems can also help identify and prevent outbreaks of the illness. 

Several conditions and contributing factors can influence the growth of Legionella bacteria, including:

     ·   Temperatures ranging between 20-45°C

·    Availability of nutrients (such as sediment, biofilm, algae, scale, rust, etc.)

·   The presence of biofilm on water surfaces

·   Poor or inadequate management, including training and awareness 

It is essential to adopt a proactive approach to managing these factors to prevent the proliferation of Legionella bacteria and minimise the risk of Legionnaires disease in your building. By addressing these conditions and contributing factors through proper water system management and regular risk assessments, you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for all building occupants. 

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, landlords are legally obligated to conduct risk assessments for Legionella, even if the risk is considered low in the rented property. Landlords must demonstrate that they have assessed the risks and implemented control measures to protect the health and safety of tenants. 

In compliance with UK health and safety regulations, landlords, property managers, and business owners must assess the risk of Legionella in their properties and take appropriate measures to control it. The most effective way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive risk assessment. 

Once the assessment is completed, it is crucial to regularly review and update the report whenever changes are made to the water systems to ensure its accuracy and relevance. 

Conducting a Legionella risk assessment requires the engagement of a qualified individual with the necessary expertise and authority to perform physical and administrative checks. 

By engaging the services of experienced Legionella Risk Assessors from Emit Zero, you can ensure regulatory compliance and gain invaluable guidance on measures to effectively minimise the risk of Legionnaires disease. Our assessors, who are all registered with the Elmhurst Accreditation scheme, bring extensive knowledge and expertise to the table. They possess suitable Public Indemnity and Public Liability insurance, providing you with added assurance and peace of mind. With Emit Zero, you can trust that your risk assessment will be comprehensive, accurate, and conducted by qualified professionals. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of Legionella infections within your building, thereby safeguarding the health and well-being of all occupants.


Answers to our most frequent questions

What is Legionnaires disease?

Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal illness caused by inhaling small droplets of contaminated water containing the bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria. Man-made hot and cold water systems can provide an environment for Legionella to grow, making it crucial to ensure the safety of your water systems to prevent the development of this deadly bacteria.

 What causes Legionella?

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in natural water sources like rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. They can also be present in man-made water systems such as cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, and spa pools. People can become ill by inhaling small water droplets in the air containing the bacteria. Outbreaks of Legionnaires disease often occur when Legionella bacteria proliferate in poorly maintained water systems. It's important to note that the disease cannot spread from person to person; only contaminated water inhalation poses a risk. 

What is a Legionella risk assessment?

A Legionella risk assessment is a tool used to identify risk factors in a facility and determine interventions to control the risks associated with Legionnaires disease. This assessment is mandatory for employers, including owners and operators of commercial buildings such as social housing, facilities management, healthcare, hotels, and more. It is their legal duty to manage the risk of Legionella bacteria in water systems. 

 Is it a legal requirement to have a Legionella risk assessment?

There is a legal obligation to assess and control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria, particularly for commercial businesses such as hotels, spas, schools, and social housing. The risk assessment should be considered an ongoing document and regularly reviewed or updated when necessary. Reasons for review may include changes to the water system, building use, new risk information, ineffective control measures, changes in key personnel, or a Legionnaires disease case associated with the system. 

How much does a risk assessment cost?

The cost of a risk assessment varies depending on the size of the premises, the number of water systems, and whether it is for domestic or commercial use. Prices start from as little as £59.00, contact Emit Zero today for a FREE, no-obligation quote.

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