In its guidance on Legionella & Landlords’ responsibilities, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) isn’t prescriptive about how often a Legionella risk assessment should be reviewed, but it does say that “It is important to review the assessment periodically in case anything changes.” Given this lack of clarity, we thought it would be useful to suggest four key moments when it would be advisable for landlords to review their risk assessment.
1. Building works
If you have undertaken any building works in a property e.g. an extension, loft conversion, new kitchen or bathroom, it’s advisable to review your Legionella risk assessment. Where plumbing has been altered, new pipes installed or old pipes capped off, it’s important that you update your schematic drawing and reassess the flow of water through the system. Are there are points at which water may collect and stagnate e.g. a dead leg or blind end?
2. New installations
If you have fitted a new boiler, new water tank, new radiators or even a new washing machine or shower, this should again trigger a review of your risk assessment. Pipework may have been altered or capped off, water storage temperatures may have changed and the flow of water through your system may be affected. In all these cases, there may be an impact on the risk of Legionella. At the very least, your schematic drawing will need to be updated.
3. Change of tenant
The arrival of a new tenant is another prompt to review your risk assessment. Different tenants present varying levels of risk and susceptibility (see our recent post) and it’s also important to take any new tenant through the Legionella controls you have in place (again, see our blog on preparing for new tenants).
4. Changes in legislation
It’s important to keep on top of any changes to legislation as new guidance is issued from time to time. Follow the HSE on Twitter or sign up on their website for free updates.
A risk assessment is only worthwhile if it is up-to-date and comprehensive, so make sure you review yours regularly. As well as being a legal requirement, it’s also an important management tool which can help you maintain a safe and efficient water system.
For advice or training on assessing the risk of Legionella, get in touch.