The key factors of a Legionella (L8) risk assessment

Premises that have been closed or used less during the Coronavirus outbreak should be have a L8 Legionella risk assessment, especially if stagnant water has been present during the weeks and months of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Many different premises may be affected, from spas and swimming pools, to any building with air conditioning where condensates may have been present in the ducts during recent weeks.

Lack of use during lockdown may mean that water and water vapour that would normally be constantly circulating and being filtered have been left stationary, leading to stagnation and increased risk of Legionella.

This not only includes buildings that have been closed completely, but also those that have been running at reduced occupancy – any premises that have already opened, or reopening in the coming weeks, should be thoroughly checked.

What is a L8 Legionella risk assessment?

L8 is the series code used by the Health & Safety Executive for its Approved Code of Practice and guidance on Legionella risk assessments and preventing outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.

The duty to reduce the risk of exposure to Legionella falls upon those in control of property, including employers.

An L8 Legionella risk assessment must:

  • Identify and assess risk of exposure to Legionella
  • Manage any identified risks
  • Control and prevent risks where possible
  • Create and maintain relevant records
  • Carry out any related duties

Examples of the conditions that must be monitored in a Legionella risk assessment include water temperature, water storage and circulation, and the presence of nutrients like biofilms that Legionella bacteria could feed on.

PPE in Legionella inspections

A further complication arising from the COVID-19 pandemic is short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) including disposable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) such as FFP3 respirators.

The HSE recommend the following types of RPE in Legionella inspections, if your usual PPE is not available:

  • P3-filtered reusable half-mask or full-face respirator
  • TH2 or TH3-class hood with powered respirator
  • TM3-class close-fitting full-face mask with powered respirator
  • Air-fed hood or full-face mask with good-quality air supply

If you are concerned about Legionella or you are preparing premises to reopen, hebs Group can help. hebs Compliance Services can assess Legionella risks arising from pools and other standing water, as well as moisture in HVAC systems.

The hebs Compliance Services team will identify all the relevant risks, provide you with a detailed report and ensure all the correct PPE and RPE is used throughout, to ensure you meet your obligations relating to both COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease.

Call hebs Group on 0151 236 0707 to book a Legionella inspection for total peace of mind before reopening your premises.

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