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Legionella - Your responsibilities as an employer

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
26th February 2018

If you are an employer or in control of premises, you have duties to control risks from work activities related to Legionella under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations.

More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) stimulates a framework to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions. The Approved Code of Practice: Legionnaires’ disease: The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems (L8) contains practical guidance on how to manage and control the risks in your system. Specially you must understand how to:

  • Identify and assess sources of risk
    • A competent person to conduct a risk assessment.
  • Manage any risks
    • Conduct water treatment or other works to reduce the risk.
    • Ensure people involved with work are suitably informed, instructed and trained.
  • Prevent or control any risks
    • The use of water systems that lead to exposure must be avoided. Where this is not possible, a written scheme for controlling the risk from exposure should be properly implemented and managed, showing the layout of the water system with a description of operation, precautions and checks made, and remedial action if the system is not effective.
  • Review of control measures: monitoring and routine inspection
    • For precautions to remain effective, the condition and performance of the system will need to be monitored.
  • Keep and maintain the correct records
    • An assessment of the risk must be carried out which records the significant findings and ensures appropriate records are kept. This should include any groups of employees identified as being particularly at risk and the steps taken to prevent or control risks. If the employer has less than five employees there is no statutory duty to write anything down, but it may be useful to keep a written record of what has been done.
    • These records should be retained throughout the period they are current and for at least two years afterwards. Retain records of any monitoring inspection, test or check carried out, and the dates, for at least five years.
  • Other duties
    • Under the Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992, you must notify your local authority in writing, if you have a cooling tower or evaporative condenser on site, and include details about where it is located.
    • In addition, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), you must report any cases of legionellosis in an employee who has worked on cooling towers or hot and cold water systems that are likely to be contaminated with legionella.

Update your Legionella learning with our 30-minute course

Phoenix HSC offer a 30-minute-long E-Learning Legionella Awareness Course, starting at £4.99. It's designed to enable employers, building owners, managers and maintenance workers to understand the risks of exposure to legionella, prevention of infection and what control measures should be in place.

  • What is Legionella?
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Legislation
  • Control processes

The E-learning course also offers:

  • Downloadable content
  • End of assessment quiz
  • Certificate of completion

This course is suitable for building owners, managers and maintenance workers who may come into contact with legionella or risk exposing others to infection. 

For further details visit: Alternatively call 0345 500 8811 to discuss our range of in-house classroom courses.


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