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Legionella risk assessments are required in any building where there is a hot or cold water supply that the public has access to. The owner, and often the tenant, has a legal responsibility to ensure that the risk of legionella building up is minimised and if they do not ensure they have a system in place for legionella risk assessment and testing then they face serious legal consequences if there is an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease.

Each business must assign a ‘responsible person’ to ensure that regular legionella risk assessments take place, and there should be a programme of ongoing checks and maintenance to continue to minimise the risks.

The risk of legionella developing and spreading in a water system is increased when the temperature of the water is between 20C and 42C, and there is a source of nutrients that the bacteria can feed upon. The legionella will grow and replicate and the risk of this then causing infection leading to Legionnaires Disease increases dramatically.

Many organisations outsource their legionella risk assessment work to a third party specialist who will ensure that an initial risk assessment is done to highlight the main potential spots for problems, and that tests are performed frequently. A log book will be kept of the risk assessment, all tests performed, all inspections of the water system, all test results, and all remedial work identified and performed.