A new HSE legislation is enforcing the importance of landlords, letting agents and property owners complying with a new set of standards to safeguard against the ramifications of legionella. Property owners who fail to comply with the essential standards will face prosecution as the consequences of legionella can lead to fatal, devastating outcomes if left to transform into Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella is typically born in aquatic environments but if given the chance to breed, can develop rapidly and have fatal implications. Legionnaires’ disease is a fatal form of pneumonia that can contaminate water systems and poison tenants. Although outbreaks are rare, the legislation is in place to ensure that it remains a contained condition.
The HSE issued an updated version of their Approved Code of Practice which is entitled, “Legionnaires’ disease: The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems” and sets out precautions required to ensure that the issue remains tightly controlled in households and businesses.
Property owners can abide by the new legislation by implementing a few strategies to ensure that their tenants and properties are safe. Here are some of LetBritain’s recommendations to ensure that you meet the legislation’s requirements:
- In the case of legionella, knowledge is power. Familiarise yourself with the impact and ramifications of legionella and carry out a compliance audit to determine whether or not you are in line with present legislation requirements.
- Carry out a risk assessment to gauge how likely or unlikely a legionella outbreak is for your property. Such risk assessments are legally necessary as per the Health and Safety Executive lined out in their Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L8 “Legionnaires’ disease: The Control of Legionella Bacteria In Water Systems”
- Attending a City and Guild accredited course, seminar or practical skills workshop enables people to develop the knowledge and skills to understand, prepare for and adequately manage the risk of legionella.
- Online training courses are hugely beneficial to develop further understanding of legionella and have been adapted to apply to a variety of competence and compliance requirements for those with specific responsibilities when handling legionella.
- A written scheme of control works as a risk management document that outlines the measures necessary to control the risks of exposure, outlining easy to implement processes to manage and maintain efficient control.
- Understanding your hot and cold water systems, cooling systems and water systems enables you to pinpoint how likely the risk of contagion with legionella is.
- Testing for legionella is essential to see whether it presently exists in your water system.
- Developing an online management software solution helps to regulate the compliance, safety performance and cost benefit. This is especially helpful for landlords with a portfolio of properties.
Remember, complying with the legislation is not optional. It is essential for all those who have a responsibility in its management, including letting and property agents and landlords, to ensure staff, residents, guests and tenants are safe and adequately protected. All those involved within the property industry must comply with the approved act of practice as duty holders in the management and containment of legionella.