31 Jan Landlord’s Legionella Safety Responsibilities
Anyone who has control of premises, including landlords, must be able to show that they understand and have considered the health risks associated with legionella and legionnaires’ disease. Legionella is a type of pathogenic bacteria that causes a range of pneumonia-like illnesses and legionnaire’s disease is the most serious one. Legionella bacteria commonly live in natural water sources, but only pose a risk of illness when the water enters more favourable conditions. For instance, when the water is between 20 and 45°c and has been recirculated, causing it to become stagnant.
To effectively prevent legionella and legionnaire’s disease in their properties, landlords must undertake a legionella risk assessment. As with any other form of risk assessment, this involves five key steps:
- Identify the risks (e.g. check water temperatures).
- Consider who is at risk (e.g. the tenants and their visitors).
- Implement appropriate control measures (e.g. keeping water hot, removing impurities, etc).
- Record the findings of the risk assessment.
- Review and update the risk assessment (e.g. annually or if changes are made to the water system of the property).
In a property, legionella bacteria may be found in any water system between 20-45°c. This is why it’s crucial for landlords to ensure that all water systems are correctly operated and maintained, such as hot and cold water tanks, pipework and air conditioning units. The risk can be lowered if hot water is kept above 45°c and cold water is kept below 20°c, and if water is used regularly to keep it fresh and free of stagnation.