Legionella Legislation and Regulation in the UK

Video 5 of 24
3 min 15 sec
English
English
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Legionella bacteria can cause severe respiratory illness in humans and this is significant public health concern. The UK government has implemented legislation and regulations to ensure that water systems are properly maintained and controlled to reduce the risk of Legionella contamination. The main legislation that governs Legionella controls in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This Act places a general duty on employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their work. It is the responsibility of employers to identify and assess the risk associated with Legionella in their workplace and take appropriate action to manage those risks. The Control of Substances Hazards to Health regulations or COSHH Regulation 2002, also applies to Legionella controls in the UK. This regulation requires employers to assess the risks associated with hazardous substances including Legionella and take appropriate action and measures to control these risks. In addition to Health and Safety at Work Act and COSHH, there are several codes of practice and guidance documents that provide advice and management recommendations for managing Legionella risks. The most important of these is the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, ACOP L8 Legionnaire's disease, the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems.

ACOP L8 provides detailed guidance on how to assess and manage the risk associated with Legionella in water systems. The guidance includes a risk assessment process that identifies potential sources of Legionella in a building such as a cooling tower, hot and cold-water systems and air conditioning systems. The guidance also provides recommendations on how to control those risks, including regular monitoring and maintenance of water systems and the implementation of appropriate control measures. Another important regulation in the UK is the Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992. This regulation requires that owners of cooling towers and evaporative condensers to notify their local authority of their presence to ensure that they are properly managed and maintained. The Water Supply, Water Fittings Regulations 1999 and the Water Industry Act 1991 are also relevant in Legionella controlled in the UK.

These regulations require that water systems are designed, installed and maintained to prevent contamination, including that from Legionella bacteria. It is important to know that compliance with Legionella legislation and regulation is not optional, failure to comply can result in significant fines and even criminal prosecution. Building owners and managers have a responsibility to ensure they are aware of Legionella legislation and regulations that apply to their premises and to implement appropriate control measures to manage Legionella risks.