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What is a Legionnaires Assessment?

A legionnaires assessment is a thorough inspection of a property’s water systems that are used for drinking, washing and process purposes. It should include all pipes, hot and cold water tanks, showers, taps and fountains etc. It should also cover the risk to occupants if any of these outlets become contaminated with Legionella. This can lead to Legionnaires disease, a serious and potentially fatal form of pneumonia. It is particularly dangerous to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and those who are immunocompromised as a result of illness or medication (i.e. those receiving immunosuppressant drugs).

Legionnaires’ Disease: Assessing the Risk and Preventive Measures

There are many legal requirements to adhere to when carrying out a legionella assessment, as outlined by the HSE’s L8 Code of Practice. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines. In addition, the risk to occupants may be significant and therefore, it is important that any assessment is carried out by an experienced individual.

The frequency of a legionella risk assessment will vary, but typically it is reviewed every two years or more frequently as and when there are changes that could affect the water system. This is in line with advice from the Health and Safety Executive in their ACOP L8 regulations. It should also be reviewed if there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid. This may be because key personnel or contractors have changed, the management procedures and paperwork has been altered or that the building use is changing to an age group that would raise the risk of Legionella infection.