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Legionella: What you must do

As an employer, or a person in control of the premises, you are responsible for health and safety and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risks of exposure to legionella. You must understand how to:

  • identify and assess sources of risk

  • manage any risks

  • prevent or control any risks

  • keep and maintain the correct records

  • carry out any other duties you may have

Duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) extend to risks from legionella bacteria, which may arise from work activities.


The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) provide a broad framework for controlling health and safety at work. More specifically, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provide a framework of actions designed to assess, prevent or control the risk from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions.


You or the person responsible for managing risks, need to understand your water systems, the equipment associated with the system such as pumps, heat exchangers, showers etc, and its constituent parts. Identify whether they are likely to create a risk from exposure to legionella, and whether:

  • the water temperature in all or some parts of the system is between 20–45 °C

  • water is stored or re-circulated as part of your system

  • there are sources of nutrients such as rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms

  • the conditions are likely to encourage bacteria to multiply

  • it is possible for water droplets to be produced and, if so, whether they can be dispersed over a wide area, eg showers and aerosols from cooling towers

  • it is likely that any of your employees, residents, visitors etc are more susceptible to infection due to age, illness, a weakened immune system etc and whether they could be exposed to any contaminated water droplets

As an employer, or person in control of premises, you must appoint someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties and to take responsibility for controlling any identified risk from exposure to legionella bacteria. A competent person, often known as the responsible person, is someone with sufficient authority, competence, necessary skills, knowledge of the system, and experience.


If you require Legionella Training, or would like more information, please contact our account managers on:

01782 438813


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