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Legionnaires Disease Risk Assessments

Landlords and letting agents are now obliged by law to conduct risk assessments for legionnaire's disease, and if necessary, take action straight away.

What is Legionnaires Disease?


Legionnaires Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the dangerous Legionella bacteria, which can be fatal and kill in the most severe cases.

Widespread in rivers, lakes and water systems where the water temperature is such as to encourage growth of the bacteria, for instance in a hot water system, Legionella bacteria is something which must not be underestimated. Other sources can come from stagnant water in tanks, infrequently used showers, air conditioning outlets and debris in water systems.

The threat of Legionella bacteria comes when people inhale small droplets of water which contain the bacteria. Such droplets may be suspended in the air and is of particular risk in stored and recirculated water within a home or any given premise.

Who is responsible?

In a case where a property is under full management by a professional agent, the agent has the responsibility for meeting the legal requirements.

If however a landlord is managing a property themselves, the landlord then takes on that responsibility along with other legal requirements such as annual gas checks.

Both letting agents and landlords should be aware that legionella bacteria can multiply in hot and cold water systems as well as water storage tanks and can be spread via taps and showers, especially if they have not been used in a long while.

Landlords and letting agents should advise tenants of the risks of Legionella and how to combat them by cleaning shower heads regularly and running water off. Raising water temperatures can reduce the risk of Legionella, but there's an increased risk of scalding and burns which should be addressed.

Other safeguards include disinfecting water systems, servicing air conditioning units, insulting pipework, removing water pool from systems and keeping water cisterns sufficiently covered and free of obvious debris.

The risk assessment process

The risk assessments undertaken must assess not only the risk but also identify potential sources of exposure and then find steps to prevent or control any of the identified risks. Here at Torbay Heating and Plumbing we are able to carry out this professional assessment, following up with annual assessments to ensure all properties rented out are deemed safe and fit to live in.

A risk assessment involves assessing whether conditions are right for bacteria to flourish. The most significant risk is where water is present at temperature between 20C and 45C and as well as checking such details, the other factor which needs to be assessed in the vulnerability of people who may be at risk.

Tenants at greatest risk include smokers and heavy drinkers, those over 45 years of age, those suffering chronic respiratory or kidney disease as well as anyone with an impaired immune system.

Upon completion, we will supply you with a certificate as proof the property is free of Legionnaires Disease, providing you with peace of mind that the property is fit for rental.

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