What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria and can in some circumstances be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.
The bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems. They thrive at temperatures between 20 – 45°C, if the conditions are right, but they are killed by high temperatures at 60°C or above.
What are my obligations?
Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.A Risk Assessment carried out by a suitably qualified and competent person will demonstrate that the landlord has fulfilled their legal duty.
For most residential settings the risk assessment may well show the risks are low so long as simple control measures are followed. This will apply to houses or flats with small domestic type water systems where the water turnover is high. It is important, however, to keep the assessment under review and may be prudent to link the review process with the annual gas safety check programme.